Roseanne, "The Daily Show" and the latest news from the TV beat

By Joe Flint
July 24, 1998 at 04:00 AM EDT

RIVETING ROSIE? First The Magic Hour. Then The Howie Mandel Show. Now there are signs The Roseanne Show could be the next talk-show train wreck. Premiering in September, the new gabfest from Oprah producers King World is so unformed, even its talkative star is at a loss for words to describe it: “It’s a little bit of everything, it’s not just—you know, we’ll have a little bit like Oprah and a little bit like Rosie and a little bit like blah, blah, blah,” she said at a recent press conference. (Looks like Magic Johnson isn’t the only one who needs a speech coach.) Even though the show’s been in the works since May 1997 and millions of dollars have been thrown at it, King World has no clips to show. Instead, the syndicator chose to bore critics with a highlight reel of Roseanne’s life, which conveniently left out the fun stuff (like her rendition of the National Anthem). We’re not harping—Roseanne’s a talented comedian whose show may turn out to be, well, huge. But when a talk show’s been in development for over a year and, according to King World CEO Michael King, 1,000 different elements have been tested for it, you’d think there’d be something to say. One plus: Unlike Rosie O’Donnell and Kathie Lee Gifford, Roseanne promises not to talk about her kids on air. That alone might make it worth checking out.

FREE CRAIG KILBORN! That’s the mantra at CBS, which is waiting for Comedy Central to release the Daily Show host from his contract (it expires in August 1999) so he can replace Late Late Show host Tom Snyder. Problem is, Comedy Central isn’t letting Kilborn go until it has a replacement, and that search is going slowly. Jon Stewart passed on an offer sources say topped $1.5 million. Daily Show reporter Brian Unger is a prime in-house candidate, but the net’s still looking outside. CBS execs, who sent Kilborn a “get out of jail free” card after he visited with them last month, are hoping he’ll be free by January so they can promote him during the NFL play-offs, but Comedy Central prez and CEO Doug Herzog told reporters recently “CBS’ agenda is not high on my list.”

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