CAROLINE RHEA IS ENRAGED

Published on: November 26, 2002

Talk show hostess Caroline Rhea is enraged over news that executives at her company have offered MTV reality show queen Sharon Osbourne her own talk show for a whopping $8 million.

The former "Sabrina, the Teenage Witch" star was already freaked out after Warner Bros./Telepictures bosses worked out a deal with Ellen DeGeneres a few months ago for a big-budget gab fest, as The ENQUIRER reported in August -- and the news about Sharon makes matters worse, sources say.

"When Caroline first heard about the deal between Telepictures and Sharon Osbourne a few weeks ago, she flew into a rage," said a TV industry insider. Caroline took the Sharon Osbourne deal as a clear vote of no confidence in her and her future as a talk show host with the company."

Caroline hasn't been able to live up to the ratings generated by her predecessor, Rosie O'Donnell.

When Rosie was hosting, the show was often above a 3.0, which means over three million viewers. Caroline's been averaging a 1.75. The only new show doing worse than her is the syndicated talker featuring host Rob Nelson, with a 0.9.

In an effort to boost ratings, Rhea's bosses replaced the executive producer of her show -- and the star interpreted that move as still another sign her bosses don't back her.

But a top talk show honcho says Rhea has only herself to blame for her problems: "The truth is, Rosie handed her that show on a silver platter. She guest-hosted on Rosie's show and was a regular on 'Hollywood Squares,' where she built a name for herself in daytime television. She was given good time slots on major networks all over the country."