Rosie O'Donnell's Big Gay Cruise Ship Fails to Throw Life Preserver to OWN

Oprah Winfrey's struggling cable network OWN pinned high hopes on its new evening talk/variety/whatever-the-hell-else program The Rosie Show but alas, if Monday's debut ratings is any indication, it failed to deliver.

497,000 people watched Monday's premiere, which earned a .44 rating in the show's chief (and, really, basically only) demographic, women 25 to 54. Which is not very good! That's an OK in general, but for a big splashy premiere from a one-time (two-time, if you count The View) talk show deity, it's not the boffo bonanza that OWN was hoping for.

Oprah's big post-talk show project has been stumbling along for a while now, with Oprah publicly blaming the network's muddled beginnings on her not being as involved as she should have been. Other than the net's lackluster ratings, OWN has suffered from a dearth of any buzz or attention, rolling out thin reality show after wan reality show, the chief standout simply being a behind-the-scenes look at Oprah's show. I mean, I'm sure people are watching The Judds, but is anyone really talking about The Judds in the way they talk about Dance Moms or Bad Girls Club or even Project Runway, all popular reality programs on competing ladynets? (OWN is less explicitly For Women as WE or Lifetime or Oxygen, but the main target is fairly clear.) OWN is just not hot-topic conversation the way Winfrey's daily syndicated talk show was. And it doesn't seem that O'Donnell's show will do much to improve that.

Still, The Rosie Show can count one significant achievement to its name. It bested Winfrey's own Oprah's Lifeclass in the ratings by a cool 150,000 viewers on Monday. Though those numbers will likely level out in the coming weeks, it still must feel good to beat Oprah at her own (or OWN) game, even once. [The Wrap]