*Radar Online is reporting that Oprah Winfrey is trying to recruit her close friend Maria Shriver to host a show on OWN as early as this fall.
The news comes days after Winfrey cancelled Rosie O’Donnell’s short-lived talk show due to low ratings, and laid off 30 staffers at the network.
“Oprah knows she needs to pull a rabbit out of the hat, literally,” a source close to the situation tells RadarOnline.com. “She has been in discussions with Maria for a very long time about doing a news/special interest driven show for OWN. However, Oprah has ramped up the pressure in the past several weeks.
“Maria definitely wants to get back to work, but she has to make sure that it’s the right project. With her son Patrick about to graduate from high school in the next few months, she will have only one other child, Christopher, living at home with her.
“It’s highly unlikely Maria would get her own show though, she doesn’t want that amount of responsibility, period. Oprah has told Maria that she could do specials for the network with an emphasis on the human interest issues that she is passionate about. Oprah admires and respects Maria so much, and she thinks her viewers can relate to her.”
The source adds: “Maria has been assured that any project she would do for OWN would be filmed in Los Angeles, or a location that was convenient to her. Oprah is cognizant of the fact that Maria needs to be close to Los Angeles for her son.”
Despite Winfrey’s plea to Shriver, the former First lady of California isn’t ready to commit either way, just yet.
“Maria just can’t give Oprah an answer yet,” the source says. “She has been offered book deals and several offers from the major networks. Maria needs to do what is best for her and she just doesn’t know if working for her close friend is a good idea, she values her friendship with Oprah so much. Oprah was Maria’s first non-Kennedy friend that she ever made when she was a young adult. Maria will choose her friendship over work.”