Rosie's back with variety

Z ON TV

November 26, 2008|By DAVID ZURAWIK

This might well date me, but one of the few prime-time entertainment shows I have been waiting for with a real sense of anticipation is the NBC variety show premiering tonight at 8, Rosie Live, with Rosie O'Donnell.

The variety show, a genre that introduced me as a kid to stars like Judy Garland and Frank Sinatra through the "magic" of television and CBS, was declared dead way too soon by the pundits. The producers of American Idol figured that out and made tens of millions of dollars by simply jiggering the formula.

Now comes Rosie on this holiday eve, offering her re-invention of variety TV. The idea of doing it live is a smart choice, as is her lineup headlined by Liza Minnelli, a child of the variety show herself as Garland's daughter.

(Speaking of which, it is almost time to dust off my Garland Christmas from her CBS series - the one that features a slightly woozy Garland introducing us to young Liza and the teenager's "beau." I think Judy thought they were still on the set of Meet Me in St. Louis with her talk of beaus.)

Other guests: Ne-Yo, Alanis Morissette, Alec Baldwin and Kathy Griffin - live from the Little Shubert Theatre. I'm psyched. Watch with a beau.

LATE-NIGHT GUESTS Actress Teri Hatcher visits the Late Show with David Letterman.

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