Another cutie patootie. Now there is the Rosie O'Donnell trial; before there was "The Rosie O'Donnell Show," a Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution product. In her prime, "Rosie" the show was touted as the savior of daytime, bringing in prime-time level audiences and advertisers during an otherwise-parched daypart. Her show premiered with a 4.4 household rating. At her prime she pulled in a 5 rating. Today, filling in the breach left wide open by Rosie's 2002 departure, are several new daytime divas; the most successful is Warner's "The Ellen Degeneres Show." According to Nielsen Media Research, "Ellen" pulled in a strong 2.2 rating for households in October and drew upscale, normally prime-time audiences to daytime on NBC. More households with incomes of $100,000 plus are watching Ellen than they are Oprah, Dr. Phil and Regis & Kelly. Warner believe s Ellen is ready for the big time. The show will be upgraded to early fringe (4 p.m. to 6 p.m.) next year in Portland, Ore. and Louisville, Ky. She already airs in early fringe in Philly. Perhaps there is a magazine in Ellen's future, too? "I really don't think Ellen will go down that path," says Shari Anne Brill, VP-director of programming at Carat
USA. "She's all about being a comedienne and a real person. And who would want to follow in Rosie's footsteps?"