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The Rosie O'Donnell Show was a nationally syndicated daytime talk show hosted by comedian Rosie O'Donnell that ran from 1996 to 2002. The Sesame Street Muppets, mainly Elmo, made many stops on her show, as Rosie is a big Sesame Street fan.

On November 11, 1998, O'Donnell hosted a special episode of the show from the set of Sesame Street to celebrate the show's 30th season.

The show is often credited with helping to fuel the 1996 craze for Tickle Me Elmo dolls as O'Donnell used the show to promote the doll around the 1996 holiday season.[1][2]

The Rosie O'Donnell Show was taped in Studio 8G at NBC's Rockefeller Center studios in New York City (former home to The Phil Donahue Show and later home to The Caroline Rhea Show and Late Night with Seth Meyers). The show won five Daytime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Talk Show.


Picture/Video Date Description
June 14, 1996 Miss Piggy calls into the show. She agrees to be a guest later on.
June 28, 1996 Elmo interrupts interviews with Regis Philbin and Erika Slezak. He shows up later as the last guest. A clip of this segment was featured in the 2008 DVD The Rosie O'Donnell Show Season One: Rosie Reminisces.
July 1, 1996 Miss Piggy takes over hosting the show for the first two segments. O'Donnell announces that she'll be on Muppets Tonight (but it was canceled before she could appear). Piggy plugs In the Kitchen with Miss Piggy. Over the end credits, Piggy sings along to "Muskrat Love" with O'Donnell, Katie Couric, and The Captain & Tennille.
September 6, 1996 Kermit and Gonzo promote Muppet Treasure Island on home video and Kermit sings "Bein' Green."[3]
November 14, 1996 For Episode 98, the audience was filled with Rosie look-alikes. Rosie meets an Anything Muppet caricature of herself named Rosie O'O, played by Joey Mazzarino. A clip of this segment was featured in the 2008 DVD The Rosie O'Donnell Show Season One: Rosie Reminisces.
December 19, 1996 Elmo makes a surprise visit. He banters with Rosie, who says "You usually have to be about five to come on the show. And you're only two and a half." Elmo asks what about Parker (Rosie's adopted son). "Oh, he's privileged." Elmo sings "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" with fellow surprise guest Luther Vandross. Elmo later says he wants a Cadillac for Christmas. To close the show, a pre-taped clip of guests singing "The Twelve Days of Christmas" features Elmo, Garth Brooks, Penny Marshall, Neil Diamond, and others.
February 3, 1997 Oscar the Grouch hangs around Rosie's desk in order to meet Hillary Clinton, who presents him with authentic trash from the White House.
February 17, 1997 From Universal Studios Hollywood. Elmo appears and sets up a running gag for the next week or two, when Rosie questions him about the fact that she gave him the key to her New York dressing room, and the Sesame Street Muppets have been messing around there. Over the next few shows, during periodic check-ins to the studio, different Muppets pop up. In one, Joey and Davey Monkey also appear, stealing snacks from Rosie's New York studio.[3]
February 24, 1997 Rosie plays a video clip of her and Elmo, showing that yes, he did receive a Cadillac after the December 19 show. They prepare to drive away in it, and Elmo says "Let's hear some tunes, Rosie. And no Streisand this time." So they drive off singing the "Sesame Street Theme."[3]
December 24, 1997 Titled "A Very Rosie Christmas" and featuring all pretaped segments, Elmo is one of several guests, including Hilary Clinton, Luther Vandross, Tony Bennett, Donny Osmond, and others, all performing Christmas songs. Elmo sings "Winter Wonderland" with Rosie.[3] (YouTube)
February 16, 1998 Reba McEntire co-hosts; Elmo and Rosie sing "Nearly Missed" to promote Elmopalooza. (YouTube)
November 5, 1998 Elmo appears. [cite]
November 11, 1998 Rosie hosts the show from the set of Sesame Street. Whoopi Goldberg, Julia Roberts, and Roberta Flack also appear.
January 28, 1999 Gloria Estefan guest hosts. Elmo and Rosita appear to promote the Elmopalooza! soundtrack. They help give tips to Gloria on hosting the show and perform the song "Mambo I, I, I" with her.

February 8, 1999 Miss Piggy promotes her perfume Moi, and donates her glove to the For All Kids Foundation; it was auctioned on eBay for about $500. She and Rosie sing a song about her to the tune of the titular song from Mame.
Rosie 3 158 decorated desk

Rosie 3 158 Rosita
May 4, 1999 Rosie has a desk decorated with Tyco stuffed toys. Rosita appears from the audience, revealing that the desk was specially made by her Sesame Street friends (and claiming that Cookie Monster ate some of the toys). Rosita's also excited to see guest Natalie Merchant, and asks if she was part of a group of maniacs (in reference to the band, 10,000 Maniacs). (YouTube)
September 21, 1999 Elmo promotes The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland. He sings a song with Rosie to the tune of "Everything's Coming Up Roses", where O'Donnell notes her fear of him being changed by Hollywood, citing Miss Piggy. (YouTube)
November 29, 1999 A short pre-taped feature interviews Elmo and Rosie in the studio while recording "Do You Hear What I Hear?" for A Rosie Christmas. (YouTube)
December 3, 1999 Kermit and Gonzo appear in the "Rosie's Craft Corner" segment, for The Muppets Big Book of Crafts; both of their craft jackets were auctioned on eBay. An additional behind the scenes segment of A Rosie Christmas with Elmo is also shown.

December 6, 1999 Elmo appears to promote CinderElmo, presenting a clip of "If Elmo Could Go to the Ball."
At the end of the program, Bear makes a surprise appearance to donate some toys for the Toys for Tots program, as well as to promote "A Berry Bear Christmas." (YouTube)
May 2, 2000 Elmo appears to promote Buckle Up America.
January 4, 2001 Elmo appears.
March 26, 2001 Elmo talks about the Hurricane on Sesame Street; O'Donnell plugs the week of episodes.
September 21, 2001 Elmo appears during the first week of shows since 9/11. O'Donnell brings out her son Blake and they sing "Put on a Happy Face."
February 6, 2002 Elmo talks about the events of Episode 3981 when Hooper's Store caught on fire. Members of the audience get an ABC Dancer Elmo doll.
May 2002 The Sesame Street Muppets (including Elmo, Rosita, Big Bird, Zoe, Lulu, Grover, Telly Monster, Herry Monster, Baby Bear, and Papa Bear) delivered a pre-taped song bidding farewell to the show to the tune of the "Sesame Street Theme."
May 2, 2002 Elmo appears. Having heard that Rosie's leaving, he plans to come stay with her, bringing along some suitcases and wearing a jacket with the show's logo on it. She persuades Elmo not to leave Sesame Street and promises that they'll keep in touch. Elmo shares some parting words from Oscar ("goodbye") and sings Barbra Streisand's "People" as "Monsters Who Love Rosie."

Dates unknown[]

Muppet Mentions[]


Season 3 opening theme sequence.

  • O'Donnell often kept small bits of Sesame Street merchandise on her desk, including a Grover mug that also appeared in one of the show's animated intros (albeit recolored green).
  • Inevitably, the Muppets and Sesame Street were often mentioned, even when the characters weren't on. Near the start of the first show, on June 10, 1996, Rosie says "This show is unique, original, unlike anything you've ever seen on TV. And today's program is brought to you by the letter L and the number 3."[3]
  • In the 45th episode of the first season, O'Donnell quotes "Sing" when talking to Lucy Lawless about her love of singing.
  • October 2, 1996 - Rosie does a variation of Groucho Marx's You Bet Your Life secret word, with an Elmo doll coming down on the swing. If a guest says the word, each audience member wins an Elmo doll. The gimmick was used "a couple of more times over the next few weeks" and then dropped.[3]
  • October 1, 1998 - Kelly Ripa references her experience driving as a new mother. "I listen to like, Barney's Greatest Hits and Elmo's Greatest Hits and Pooh's Greatest Hits..."
  • April 14, 1999 - Cher must give clues to the heads attached to Rosie's headband. She suggests that Elmo's name rhymes with clover.
  • In an undated episode, Rosie hosted the "What Are You Scared of? Game" with three members of the audience. The first woman interviewed was scared of frogs, so she gave her a Kermit stuffed toy.[5]


  • In Miss Piggy's Rules, the section "Moi's Top 10 Reasons You Are Better Off Without Him" lists watching taped episodes of Rosie at dinner as number six in the list.


  1. ↑ "Mama Rosie", P.J. Tanz, Sesame Street Parents website
  2. ↑ "Tickle Me Elmo: Using the Media to Create a Marketing Sensation", Media Awareness Network
  3. ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Spreng, Patrick. Everything Rosie. "The Rosie O'Donnell Show Companion," 1996-1998. p. 106-209.
  4. ↑ (YouTube)
  5. ↑ (YouTube)

External links[]