MSNBC talks up Rosie O’Donnell

Host in talks with network for new show

MSNBC is talking to Rosie O’Donnell about hosting a primetime talkshow, people familiar with the situation said.

Skein would air at 9 p.m. weeknights, sandwiched between Keith Olbermann’s “Countdown” and documentaries. It would likely focus on current events and would premiere just in time for O’Donnell to sound off on the upcoming presidential election.

No deals are in place with O’Donnell, and insiders said there’s still a chance a pact will not be hammered out. It’s also possible O’Donnell could end up working for other parts of the Peacock empire.

Landing O’Donnell would instantly give MSNBC its biggest star and the type of high-profile personality who could compete in a tough timeslot. But it would also likely mean some PR headaches for MSNBC given O’Donnell’s penchant for stirring up controversy.

While originally known as a comic and light entertainer, O’Donnell has become more politically outspoken over the years. During her recent yearlong stint on “The View,” she regularly grabbed headlines with various political pronouncements.

As for MSNBC, the cabler has found its footing in primetime after years of struggling mightily. Both “Hardball With Chris Matthews” and “Countdown” do well in the ratings.

Abrams’ show, however, has been an underperformer vs. CNN’s “Larry King Live” and Fox News Channel’s “Hannity and Colmes.”

A NBC rep declined comment, as did O’Donnell’s agency rep.

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