Rosie's Replacement, Rhea, on a Roll

01/24/2002 at 01:00 PM EST

The picture is looking rosy for Rosie O'Donnell's replacement, Caroline Rhea, as TV stations around the country are coming 'round and agreeing to pick up the show once its current hostess departs at the end of this season, in May. According to the Web site of a trade journal, Mediaweek.com, the program's producer, Warner Bros. TV (which, like PEOPLE, is part of AOL Time Warner), has cinched a deal for Rhea on eight ABC-owned and operated stations, which means that the show will be available to about 60 percent of the country. No confirmation has been made, however, on whether the stations -- New York's WABC, Philadelphia's WPVI, San Francisco's KGO, Houston's KTRK, Raleigh-Durham's WTVD, Fresno, Calif.'s KSFN, Flint, Mich.'s WJRT and Toledo, Ohio's WTVG -- will air Caroline during the day or late at night. (Late night can be deadly to such a program, as was proved by Roseanne's ill-fated talk show.) A spokesman for the show's distributor, Telepictures, said the company is hoping to secure similar commitments from stations in Los Angeles and Chicago over the next few days, reports Reuters. The Canadian-born Rhea, 37, is a comedian perhaps best known for her current gig on "Hollywood Squares" and her role as Aunt Hilda on the WB's "Sabrina, the Teenage Witch." O'Donnell, 39, has said that she plans to devote more time to her children and her magazine once she leaves behind the daily grind of her talk show. She is also publishing her autobiography in May.

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