Rosie to drop anchor at MSNBC?


The word on the lesbian cable news street is

that left-leaning Rosie O’Donnell is in discussions to join MSNBC

for a nightly news show.

Nothing is final, but I’ll

wager that if execs are talking to the New York Times, it’s

all but decided. And in retrospect, it makes a lot of sense that Rosie

would find another forum for her liberal lectures following her yearlong

stint on The View, during which she regularly dissed President

Bush, dished on 9/11 conspiracy theories and lengthily discussed gay


UPDATE: [Nov. 8] The MSNBC deal appears to be off. The New York Times has the story here and here.

She regularly updates her blog

with entry after nigh-indecipherable entry about news items, including

the presidential administration run amok, the war in Iraq and the Israel-Palestine

conflict, among other current topics. And if you’ll recall, the last

few years of The Rosie O’Donnell Show were a train wreck of

emotional outbursts about gun control and foster care.

A prime-time news show would certainly

make complete her transition from Broadway-loving Queen of Nice to Phil

Donahue (or is that Marlo Thomas?) for the new millennium, but I worry.

What happens when the girthy gabber goes head to talking head against

Republicans who are smarter than her View foil Elizabeth Hasselbeck

(not a difficult hurdle to jump)?

If history is any guide, her

emotional and visceral reactions will provide endless grist for the

mill that is Bill O’Reilly and the rest of the Fox News hacks, as

well as every other right-wing hater. (I wouldn’t be surprised if

O’Reilly dedicates a regular segment to debunking anything that comes

out of her mouth.)

I also worry that when the going

gets personal, she’ll give up, as she did with her recent publicity

tour in support of her book Celebrity Detox.

The normally outspoken O’Donnell canceled her scheduled media appearances, saying that she was “not ready to discuss

or defend” the book and that her emotions were still “too raw.”

If that’s the case for a book

written months prior, what about when she’s confronted directly? Will

she walk off the set? Quit the show, a la The View? The established

news show format dictates split screens and shouting, not to mention

in-ear advice and a rigorous nightly schedule — and it doesn’t allow

for audience participation and giveaways, Rosie’s bread and butter.

But because I’m a hopeless,

helpless, huge fan of strong women who speak their minds, I can’t

help but want her to succeed. And maybe, because it’ll be her show

on her terms, she will find satisfaction. She’d certainly be in the company of

other liberal hosts

(talk is that she’d take over the 9 p.m. slot following sharpshooter

Keith Olbermann’s nightly Bush smackdown), and the flagging channel

could definitely use the ratings goose she’d no doubt provide (though

whether they’d retain any journalistic credibility by hiring a decoupager

who hangs upside down for a mood boost remains to be seen).

She might not be the most respected

name in news, but Rosie is one of the only out lesbians speaking up

for issues that matter to us, and for that she deserves our support.

Whether you think she’s a blowhard or a voice for the underrepresented

masses, I’ll bet you at least acknowledge the importance of visibility.

But it’s not all settled, and

the fat lady herself has yet to sing. Perhaps she will divulge a few

details during her show tonight at the New York Comedy Festival (she

kicks off the event with an evening of stand-up). Stay tuned.