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Rosie O’Donnell is reminiscing on her titular talk show, which premiered 25 years ago last month.
On this week’s episode of PEOPLE in the 90s, co-hosted by Andrea Lavinthal and Jason Sheeler, the actress, comedian and TV personality revealed that she has been asked to bring The Rosie O’Donnell Show back, though she’s not quite sure she would want to.
“I feel like for me, it was really of a time,” said O’Donnell, 59. “The time to start a new show for TV now with the social delivery platforms that they have is not a 60-year-old woman. You have to be younger and have the fight in you and be on the cutting edge.”
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She continued, “I read PEOPLE and I half the time don’t know who’s in it. Imagine the stories that you promote as the big story, like so-and-so and so-and-so had a baby. I’m like, ‘What? Who? From where?’ So I don’t think that I would do it again.”
That said, “my career has been so unpredictable that you never know what will happen,” O’Donnell added. “But I think that the time is past for that for me.”
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The star also reflected on some specific moments from her show, which aired from 1996 to 2002 on NBC, including one 1996 interview with Ellen DeGeneres. During the interview, O’Donnell and DeGeneres, 63, discussed the then-upcoming “Puppy Episode” of DeGeneres’ sitcom — a famous 1997 episode in which her character comes out as gay.
“We do find out that the character is Lebanese,” DeGeneres teased at the time. “There have been clues. I mean, you’ve seen her eating baba ghanoush, if you’ve watched the show at all, and hummus, and [she’s] a big, big fan of Casey Kasem.”
“Hey, wait a minute. I’m a big fan of Casey Kasem,” O’Donnell, who had not yet publicly come out as gay, replied. “Maybe I’m Lebanese!”
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Looking back on the exchange, O’Donnell admitted that back then she thought DeGeneres could have been making a mistake.
“I just thought this is going to ruin her career and ruin her life,” O’Donnell said on PEOPLE in the 90s. “And I think she was very brave to do what she did back then. And I think that I was kind of brave in my own way to stand next to her and say, ‘Oh yeah, I think I’m a Lebanese too.'”
Bruce Glikas/WireImage Rosie O’Donnell
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O’Donnell also recalled a 1999 episode of her show during which she had a heated exchange with Tom Selleck over his views on gun laws at the time.
“I think it’s just the first time that I ever challenged a celebrity,” she said of the interview. “Every other one I was nice to. If they said, ‘Please, let’s not talk about my divorce or my recent drug addiction, drug rehab,’ I would do what they asked.”
“I was not a ‘get you’ kind of interview, I had no desire to make anyone feel uncomfortable,” she continued. “Like Johnny Carson taught us, if there was egg on anyone’s face, it’s supposed to be on the host, not the guest. So I think no one was expecting that I would challenge someone in the way that I did.”
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