TV Ratings: Barbara Walters beats Rosie O'Donnell with ease

The media battle between former coworkers Rosie O’Donnell and Barbara Walters resumed on Wednesday night, as each woman rolled out her own TV special. In the end, however, only one stood tall: Walters, whose interview with President-elect Barack Obama and First Lady-to-be Michelle Obama on ABC’s Barbara Walters Special netted 11.7 million viewers at 10 p.m. That was the night’s third best total and a huge improvement on the 5.6 mil people who watched Dirty Sexy Money in the same period a week prior. (Indeed, on a slow Thanksgiving eve, the only shows to boast a ratings boost over the previous week in the same time slot were Walters’ program and NBC’s 9 p.m. airing of Deal or No Deal, which bettered last week’s Life.)

O’Donnell’s Rosie Live special on NBC, meanwhile, drew a mere 5 mil pairs of eyeballs in the 8 p.m. hour. That was the night’s fifth smallest audience, and a sum that was down from the 5.2 mil viewers who tuned into the ratings-challenged Knight Rider last week.

Otherwise, things played out pretty much per usual. CBS easily won the evening, thanks to the night’s top-watched program, Criminal Minds (14 mil viewers at 9 p.m.), as well as No. 2 CSI: New York (12.2 mil at 10 p.m.), and the 8 p.m.-9 p.m. comedy block of Gary Unmarried (7.7 mil) and The New Adventures of Old Christine (7.6 mil).

Elsewhere, Fox got a boost from Bones (9.8 mil at 8 p.m.), but no help from a rerun of House (4.9 mil at 9 p.m.). Besides the Barbara and Barack show, ABC struggled with Pushing Daisies (4.5 mil at 8 p.m.) and Private Practice (6.2 mil at 9 p.m.). NBC effectively conceded the night early with O’Donnell’s poor showing and then saw Deal or No Deal and Law & Order draw twin 6.3 mil viewerships at 9 p.m. and 10 p.m., respectively. And the CW was a non-factor with Stylista installments that couldn’t even crack 1 mil. How un-fabulous!

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Comments (27 total) Add your comment
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  • BLT

    it’s a shame deal or no deal numbers beat Life. Life is a terrific show and deserves time to find its audience. i hope nbc doesn’t move it yet again. Mondays, Fridays, Wednesdays….no wonder it can’t develop a larger fan base.
    Bottom line, great show/struggling network.

  • jake

    Rosie’s show was awful and those horrible ratings prove that people can’t stand her anymore.

  • cj

    It was horrible. Everyone on stage looked embarrassed to be part of that fiasco. Rosie has ruined her career with her big mouth. The ratings were horrid. What was NBC thinking.

  • Anonymous

    More people watched Knight Rider last week than Rosie’s variety show? That is hilarious. She can’t even beat a joke of a show like Knight Rider.

  • sam

    It is tough to do a variety show these days and Rosie was clearly trying to revive the old Ed Sullivan concept. Although it was kind of nostalgic, I doubt that people will accept it now. It wasn’t Barbara Walters who won, it was BARACK OBAMA who was her guest. I hate Walters and I watched for the Obamas. Your article is totally unfair. If Rosie had the Obamas on, she would have won the ratings battle also. Barbara was a pretty stupid interviewer, by the way, emphasizing her dog–at least she didn’t tell the Obamas that he talks to her.

  • kiva

    The humor was not appropriate for an 8pm family hour. Rosie has not been vocalizing regularly and her voice was
    off. She needs more comedy writers. Seemed poorly rehearsed. And I like Rosie. Sad, out of touch, but I hope she tries again.

  • susan

    This was the worst show I have ever seen. What a mess! Even the performers looked embarrassed and ill at ease. Rosie did not rock…

  • Wiseman7

    What a GARBAGE the show was. I am just so HAPPY that I did not even considered watching the variety show. I am sorry for whoever endured the show. You deserve a medal for endurance.

  • ASH

    Oy, that Rosie show stunk. It’s a great idea…but poorly conceived. Too many guests and too much Rosie. She didn’t play off her main talent, that of being the #1 fan of her guests. Instead we were subjected to her singing, dancing and acting talents (all of which are middling). Back to the drawing board, Rosie. I want this to work!

  • Anonymous

    I don’t think it’s Rosie’s fault… she just didn’t get any big-name stars. Ne-Yo was the best thing all night! He sounded awesome. I do think Rosie’s funny and enjoyable but I like her in a more intimate setting, where she can interview people and show off her personality and wit with a smaller audience and BIGGER at-home audience. I would totally watch a Rosie prime-time show, if she was behind a desk!


    I watched the show with my young teenage daughter and was very disappointed. Enough of the politics and the feuds just entertain. The election is over, the feuds are yesterdays news, and rehashing this stuff is already turning people off to her causes.

  • Jam

    Rosie should have had Sarah.

  • Joe

    Ha Barb, How’s that Palin interview working for you? That’s what happens when you kiss ### for two months.

  • DanOregon

    Loved the Obama interview – especially when Barack referred to Babs’ dog as a yappy dog that sits on a lap. A girly dog.
    The Rosie show should have utilized some of the America’s Got Talent folks. She didn’t help herself trying to publicize a variety show by getting into a public spat. It should be fun and upbeat, not an opportunity to poke your enemies, for the sake of poking them. It wasn’t funny.

  • kwNC

    I enjoyed watching the President elect and Mrs. Obama. While preparing my pies for tg…..they were awesome. love this couple.

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