Despite a strong November sweeps showing, Time Warner’s Telepictures Prods. on Friday replaced “The Rosie O’Donnell Show’s” executive producer Daniel Kellison with longtime Telepictures development executive Hilary Estey-McLoughlin.
Estey-McLoughlin, formerly vice president of development at Telepictures Prods., will now share executive producer duties on the daytime talk-variety series with O’Donnell.
Sources say Estey-McLoughlin has better knowledge of daytime audiences than Kellison, who was previously a segment producer on “The Late Show With David Letterman,” where he worked for nearly a decade. Even so, a spokeswoman at Warner Bros. said the look and the feel of “Rosie,” which is similar to that of the latenight talkshows, will not change.
Some industry observers were surprised that Telepictures would shake up the staff of a show that by all indications has been working very well for a first-year series. Even so, there are some rumblings that while “Rosie” is doing far better than any new strips this season, the show is not performing better in the markets where it was upgraded to early fringe timeslots.
Supporters of Kellison, however, say he’ll have no trouble finding a new job. “It’s not will he get an offer, but which offer will he choose,” one industry sources said.
During the four weeks overlapping the November sweep period, “Rosie” tied for third place among all talkshows with a 4.2 household average. In the latest Nielsen chart, “Rosie” hit an all-time high of 4.5 and jumped 38% from its metered-market lead-in. In key adults 18-49 demos, “Rosie” was second only to “Oprah” among talkshows with a 2.3.
Estey-McLoughlin began her career in 1984 as a research analyst for Seltel Inc., and she joined Lorimar-Telepictures research in 1986. She was named director of development at Telepictures Prods. in 1989, and she was upped to VP in 1992, in charge of current series and development for firstrun syndication, cable and network daytime programming.
She recently moved to New York to supervise both “Rosie” and “In Person With Maureen O’Boyle.” Jim Paratore, president of Telepictures, commended Estey-McLoughlin’s “well-rounded background in development, marketing and current programming,” as well as her “understanding of the daytime audience.”