June 29, 1998 12:00 AM

While the powers-that-be insist that no decision has been made, noises about Rosie O’Donnell’s bailing out of her 4-year-old, syndicated TV talk show are growing increasingly louder. The rumblings occur just a few days after her announcement that she is becoming a magazine maven and will launch a revamped version of 125-year-old McCall’s magazine, to be called Rosie’s McCall’s, next spring. Regarding the show, “We have to make the decision legally in January,” Rosie, whose contract expires that month, told Katie Couric on the “Today” show last Friday, “when the stations have to free up the time slot, and I think that I’ll be making an announcement.” Rosie then kidded around by saying that she would probably quit, but she would not make a final commitment on the matter, at least not to Katie and “Today” viewers. Scott Rowe, a spokesman Warner Bros. TV. (which syndicates the O’Donnell show), told the Associated Press, “we’re hopeful that Rosie will return.” On the other hand, “The show is aging, and it’s losing steam,” said Marc Berman, an analyst for Media Week. Rosie’s show was perennially No. 3 in the talk show ratings, behind Oprah Winfrey’s and Jerry Springer’s shows, but this fall her ratings have slipped by some 19% — putting her behind Regis Philbin and Maury Povich, but in a tie for fifth place with Montel Williams.

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