Rosie O’Donnell is getting ready to revive her famous TV talk show — for one night only. The actress and comedian, who hosted the popular The Rosie O’Donnell Show from 1996 to 2002, will present an online version of her Emmy Award-winning variety show this weekend, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The streaming special will be produced with Broadway.com as a fundraiser for The Actors Fund to raise money for the now-struggling entertainment industry, as productions on stage and screen have had to shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The guest stars for the charity special include Broadway veterans Matthew Broderick, Kristin Chenoweth, Neil Patrick Harris, Barry Manilow, Katharine McPhee, Idina Menzel, Darren Criss, Billy Porter, Morgan Freeman, and many more.
In line with the social distancing that prompted the recent shuttering of Broadway and movie theaters, Rosie’s guests will sign on from home and she will interview them on camera and welcome performers remotely. The special edition of Rosie’s talk show will stream on Broadway.com and YouTube on Sunday, March 22 at 7 p.m. ET.
It’s not a huge surprise that this was a project Rosie wanted to get behind, as her love for Broadway is well known.
“Everybody who knows me knows that Broadway has been one of the brightest lights in my life since the time I was a little girl,” Rosie said in a statement. “It has also been the lifeblood of New York City for generation after generation. After all, Broadway has given to the world, now – in this time of tremendous need – it’s our turn to give something back.”
Rosie has enjoyed a long talk show career. In addition to her self-titled chatfest which had her nicknamed the “Queen of Nice,” the mom of five was a co-host on The View for two incarnations. She also hosted a short-lived talk show on Oprah Winfrey’s OWN network, and last year, there were rumors she was being considered for Julie Chen’s seat on The Talk.
During her The Rosie O’Donnell Show heyday, the talk show queen openly crushed on Tom Cruise and her devotion to Barbra Streisand scored her a rare one-hour interview with the legendary singer. In a less “nice” moment that took place one week after the Columbine tragedy in 1999, she made headlines for her ambush of guest Tom Selleck over his membership in the NRA. She later expressed remorse for how she handled the interview, according to the New York Post.
Still, Broadway was never far from her mind. O’Donnell’s talk show finale in 2002 featured a Broadway number by Vanessa Williams and John Lithgow, and her guests were Tony Award winners Nathan Lane and Christine Ebersole.