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Rosie Drops Audience From Show Tapings, Saying 'It Didn't Feel Authentic'

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O'Donnell's decision to cut the audience from her tapings further distances her talk show from Oprah Winfrey's, which famously incorporated the audience into most episodes.
O'Donnell's decision to cut the audience from her tapings further distances her talk show from Oprah Winfrey's, which famously incorporated the audience into most episodes.

Rosie O'Donnell's Chicago-based talk show will no longer be taped in front of a live studio audience, the host explained in a video blog on her show's webpage Friday.

"The other way just didn't feel authentic for me anymore," O'Donnell said on her blog. "I couldn't get real conversations going with an audience."

Modeled in part after Oprah Winfrey's iconic talk show--and owned by Winfrey's Harpo Studios Inc.--O'Donnell's show was previously taped in front of an audience for days per week. This change follows an announcement earlier this month that the show would be "evolving" with a new set, smaller in-studio audience and downsizing across the company, including layoffs of about 30 employees not needed for a smaller-scale operation.

The show had been increasingly shifting away from in-studio guests and featuring more on-on-one, taped interviews, which Rosie said in a Feb. 3 episode "confused" some viewers, while others "get it," according to Crain's Chicago Business. O'Donnell said that taping the show with a live audience was more representative of her time as a stand-up comic than of the type of material she's working with now.

"[It] doesn't feel real for who I am today," O'Donnell told Crain's. "I want to have real conversations. I don't want to perform or present, I just want to talk."

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