Roseanne Rx: talk light

NEW YORK — A daily talkshow hosted by Roseanne could rack up solid clearances when King World starts preselling it to TV stations for a fall-1998 debut in firstrun syndication, but only if she focuses on entertainment and not serious issues.

“By making Rosie O’Donnell’s show a big hit, the audience has spoken loud and clear,” said Bill Carroll, VP and director of programming for Katz Television, which advises TV-station clients about their programming decisions. “People want fun, variety and light entertainment, and so do TV stations and the advertising community.”

Joint venture

Carroll was responding to a report that King World and Roseanne’s company will announce a joint venture next week to produce a syndicated talkshow. King World declined comment, but other sources said KW has sounded out station groups about their reaction to a Roseanne-hosted talker, becoming convinced she could make an impact similar to that of Rosie O’Donnell.

In less than a year on the air, Warner Bros. Domestic’s “Rosie” has risen to the No. 2-rated talkshow in syndication behind KW’s “Oprah.”

O’Donnell’s show is all in fun, “but Roseanne brings a lot of baggage,” said Carroll. “Over the years, she’s shared with her audience more about her personal life than anybody wanted to share with her.”

One TV station group executive said Roseanne loves sounding off about social issues, and may want to turn her show into a soapbox. “If she’s going to own a half-interest in the show,” the exec said, “King World may not be able to curb her desire to go off on tangents that turn off the Nielsen households.”

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