Rosie O'Donnell, MSNBC: No Deal

Rosie O'Donnell, MSNBC | Britney's Free Fall | Robin Williams' Christmas Gift

Rosie, MSNBC: No Deal

Contrary to reports, there will be no Rosie O’Donnell show on MSNBC.

According to sources, Rosie and the struggling cable network have ended talks. They apparently could not reach an agreement on money or the length of a contract, with Rosie remaining steadfast in her desire not to commit to more than one year.

And don’t believe that it was because O’Donnell mentioned the negotiations last week in public that MSNBC scotched the deal. In the end, it was about money.

The network couldn’t afford to make a deal for Rosie just based on a nighttime show. It would have to have been tied into something else on daytime. The problem with that? O’Donnell doesn’t want to return to a grueling daytime schedule while her kids are in school.

Ironically, O’Donnell is just what MSNBC needs to pick up its flagging ratings. Her popularity continues to zoom in numbers some six months after she left "The View." On Tuesday night, she sold out Avery Fisher Hall without breaking a sweat.

Here’s something about that show, which I praised on Wednesday. It turns out it wasn’t scripted. O’Donnell ad-libbed the entire thing. Sitting in the audience, you’d never think that this was possible. Once she was in the zone of stand-up, Rosie simply took off.

That kind of spontaneity is what MSNBC needs if it's ever going to get in the game with the other nighttime cable channel shows.

What’s next for Rosie if MSNBC doesn’t come back with a new offer? I’d say Broadway, certainly, with a one-woman show. And either HBO or Showtime would be crazy not to snap her up for a live weekly program. Maybe NBC will come to its senses, though.

Britney: Sales Free Fall for 'Blackout'

Britney Spears’ "Blackout" may be what we used to call a "cut out" very soon.

Sales figures for "Blackout," which was released a mere nine days ago, are starting to trend downward fast after a quick start out of the gate.

Last week, "Blackout" sold a disappointing 289,000 copies — about 70,000 fewer than predicted. The album finished a distant second to The Eagles’ comeback CD, "Long Road Out of Eden." The new Britney album also sold less than half the number of her previous CD, "In the Zone."

At first, "Blackout" looked like a hit. It held the No. 5 spot on steadily. But in the last day it has fallen to No. 15 — not a good sign. On iTunes it’s been knocked to No. 2, losing the top spot after several days as the most downloaded album.

The signs are all there that "Blackout" may not have legs. This week, Jay-Z’s "American Gangster" plus a new CD from Chris Brown already are elbowing it off the top 10. Then next week comes Alicia Keys’ brilliant "As I Am." That may spell the end for Britney.

Could Spears suffer as quick and public a failure as Jennifer Lopez did with her very short-lived "Brave" CD? It sure looks possible. Considering that Spears was just ordered to pay a big chunk of ex-husband Kevin Federline’s legal fees, she certainly doesn’t need a big commercial flop. She’d be reduced to going out and working for a living. What a thought!

Robin Williams Gets $87G Christmas Gift: Bruce's Bike

Comedian and actor Robin Williams may be getting quite a surprise Christmas gift: an $87,500 motorcycle that once belonged to Bruce Springsteen. His wife, Marsha, bought it for him last night during an auction for Bob and Lee Woodruff’s Family Foundation.

You know ABC newsman Bob Woodruff — he is a walking, talking miracle after nearly dying last year on assignment in Iraq. He sustained physical damage as well as brain function problems. But if you’d seen him Wednesday night, you wouldn’t know anything had happened. That’s how much progress he’s made. It’s amazing.

Wednesday night, Bob and his beautiful, funny wife, Lee, hosted a bash at New York’s Town Hall Theater called "Stand Up for Heroes." They raised $2 million for the Bob Woodruff Family Fund at an all-star event organized in part by our pals at Freud Communications, Matthew Hiltzik and Lisa Dallos. The audience comprised vets, soldiers, Marines and really rich people.

The fund is designed to help raise awareness about vets and to get them aid and assistance. Who performed? Well, Springsteen, Williams, Conan O'Brien, Lewis Black and Brian Regan, as well as a Marine marching band featuring bag-pipers.

There was a Marine singer named Elizabeth Quinones who was so good singing the national anthem she should be let out to compete on "American Idol." She’d win, hands down.

Conan, by the way, milked the Writers Strike for jokes, insisting he had none, and that his parents had written the ones he told. "And my mother’s WGA [Writers Guild of America]. She’s in trouble," he quipped.

Springsteen not only played three songs on acoustic guitar and mouth harp, he also told some mildly dirty jokes (this was part of Caroline Hirsch and Andrew Fox’s New York Comedy Festival Week, after all). He then helped auction off one of his motorcycles for the charity. Even though ABC’s Chris Cuomo and famed attorney David Boies bid on it, the bike went to someone else: Marsha Williams, Robin’s wife. The price? $87,500. That’s some Christmas gift.

In front of a crowd that included ABC’s Elizabeth Vargas, Diane Sawyer, Robin Roberts and Diana Williams; NBC’s Brian Williams and Jeff Zucker; CBS’ Les Moonves; and actor James Gandolfini, Springsteen sang "This Hard Land," a brilliant version of "Devil’s Arcade," and "Thunder Road." The monied audience sang along to the latter; they knew every word.

Can I tell Bruce’s dirty joke here? A man goes to his doctor and says "I’m having a problem." He says, "I can’t stop exciting myself." The doctor says, "I wish you’d stop." "Why," asks the man? "Because I’m trying to examine you," says the doctor.

That was nothing: When Williams started in, parents packed up the few kids in the audience. It was a school night, after all. But whoa — a few more minutes of his crazy, brilliant genius and shrinks might have been needed in the morning. Williams proved he’s the funniest man alive once again, tearing down the house as he jumped through about 100 subjects in 20 minutes.

The Woodruffs are such an amazing couple that they reminded me of the late Dana and Chris Reeve in their devotion, charm and desire to make something for others out of their story. Brav-oh to both!