Rosie O’Donnell owns the Oprah Winfrey Network


Just when you almost had your mind wrapped around the fact that OWN — the most highly anticipated network ever — is going to spotlight transgender visibility with Becoming Chaz, the folks over at the Oprah Winfrey Network have unleashed even more good news for the LGBT community: Rosie O’Donnell has signed on as a collaborator for the OWN Documentary Film Club. In fact, Rosie’s first order of business is to host a one-hour special following Chaz Bono‘s transitional documentary when it airs in May.

The press release didn’t say so, but it sounds like Oprah plans to let Rosie sit very near her throne. The Rosie O’Donnell Show premieres on OWN this fall, remember, and now Rosie will be “selecting key films and hosting specials that inspire deeper conversations following their on-air premiere.” Translation: Rosie O’Donnell will be queering up OWN’s Documentary Film Club, and chatting up an audience and feeling some gay ol’ feelings out loud after each one airs.

Whatever your opinion on Rosie O., you have to admit that she has been a tireless, passionate advocate for LGBT rights over the last decade. Sometimes her championing has taken the form of warm fuzzy things, like her HBO documentary A Family Is a Family is A Family: A Rosie O’Donnell Celebration. Or crafting with her kids on Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D List. And then sometimes Rosie felt compelled to dust off her lezzer-issue combat boots and defend the LGBT community by wrapping her hands around Elisabeth Hasselbeck‘s neck.

I sometimes imagine that Ellen is Superman and Rosie is Batman. Think about it — Ellen: Mild-mannered and universally adored, hailed as the savior of the earth. Rosie: Cleans up nice, but is always one breath away from flipping the switch to rogue vigilante of the night. Right? Superheroes or not, though, it’s going to be a New World Order when Rosie joins Ellen and Sara Gilbert among the ranks of daytime television lesbians this fall.

As for OWN’s Documentary Film Club, they’ve already picked up Julia RobertsExtraordinary Moms, Forest Whitaker‘s One Last Shot and Goldie Hawn‘s Searching for Happiness. I’m guessing they won’t get much farther without Rosie choosing a documentary about LGBT families.

Oprah hasn’t shied away from gay and lesbian issues on her talkshow, and it seems like she’s going to tackle them head-on on her new network. Or, well, she’s going to let Rosie tackle them. Batman at the right hand of God. I don’t think I’ve ever felt safer.

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