Rosie Returns To Television 


Rosie O'Donnell is returning to TV, and at the same time resurrecting her acting career. O'Donnell will star in a made for TV movie about a mentally retarded woman.

It is her first foray back on network television since she retired her talk show in 2002.

"Riding the Bus with My Sister: A True Life Story," by Bryn Mawr writing professor Rachel Simon, is about Simon's retarded sister who spends her days riding a bus in a small Pennsylvania city  where she chats up her favorite drivers,  dispenses advice and stands up to people who find her a nuisance.

The telefilm will be produced by Larry Sanitsky ("The Pennsylvania Miner's Story" and "Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All") for CBS.  It is expected to air in 2005.

Last week Sanitsky described the film as "a female 'Rainman.'" 

Since leaving the talk show that made her a household name, O'Donnell came out and went to bat for gay families in an interview with ABC's Dianne Sawyer in which she attacked Florida's ban on gay adoption.

Last fall O'Donnell sued publishing giant G+J  over the ill fated magazine that bore her name.  Before the magazine folded it featured excerpts from the book and Rosie wrote a glowing review which was quoted on the book's cover.

"This is an amazing book, a beautiful story of the ties that bind," O'Donnell wrote. "Two sisters, as different as they come, find the magic in each other's lives. This book touched my soul." 

Last February she married her longtime partner Kelli Carpenter O'Donnell in San Francisco.

In addition to her talk show O'Donnell has appeared in such films as The Flintstone, League of Their Own, Sleepless in Seattle, Wide Awake, and Beautiful Girls.

She got her start appearing as a contestant on Star Search.

But, her first attempt at producing a Broadway show ended badly.  Taboo, the story of gay club boy Boy George closed after mostly scathing reviews.

Riding the Bus will begin filming in Toronto next month.