Dave on Demand | Oprah Inc.

A gift shop seems such a piddling venture for a woman with her marketing muscle. Her people ought to think big.

It's become pretty obvious that in this place and time, there is but one Queen Bee. And her name is Oprah. The rest of us are just drones.

So when it was announced this week that an Oprah-themed gift shop is being built across the street from the talk-show tsarina's Chicago studio, the venture struck me as a rare failure of imagination for the Winfrey empire.

Oprah playing cards, stationery, key chains and calendars? Come on, that's small potatoes for such a towering and beloved figure. Her merchandising possibilities are virtually unlimited. Consider these initiatives:

Oprah Bookstores. Stocked only with inspirational tales personally vetted by Her Nibs.

Oprah Vacations. Yes, the packages are pricey, but half the cost goes to buy computers for schoolchildren in the countries you're visiting. And don't forget, you'll be traveling on . . .

Oprah Airlines. The air up here is just a little bit sweeter.

Oprah Restaurants. Healthy meals specifically tailored to your nutritional needs by our helpful staff. Try the seaweed salad. Remember Tuesdays are all-you-can-eat beets.

Oprah Spas. You'll be amazed to see the pounds melt away while you're being pampered beyond your wildest dreams.

Oprah Villages. Live your best life in these planned residential communities. Every resident gets a "Gayle," a constant and loyal companion.

Wouldn't any of these enterprises be more suitable - not to mention more profitable? After all, no one wants to go to Chicago and come back with a T-shirt that reads: "I Was on Oprah and All I Got Was This Stupid Shirt."

Regrets only. Rosie O'Donnell has become so outsized that's it's news now when she turns down a job, like this week's reported offer to replace Bob Barker on The Price Is Right.

But I have trouble buying Rosie's explanation that she made the decision because she didn't want to uproot her family from the East Coast. Bear in mind this was merely an opportunity for her to become a cheesy game-show host, a job she didn't want anyway. If it had been a gig that flattered her ego, the Mayflower van would be backing up to her mansion right now.

Is it just me? Has anyone seen the new Showtime series Meadowlands (Sundays at 10 p.m.)? If so, could you please explain it to me?

I don't know if it's the impenetrable British accents or the bizarre plot, but I haven't been this flummoxed by a show since According to Jim came on the air.

I hope that's a caper. One movie I won't be seeing this weekend is the new Pixar comedy, Ratatouille. I'm sorry, but rats and food preparation just don't mix. I don't care to see a rat perched on the lip of a pot of soup, even if he's holding a sprig of parsley.

Truth be told, I find it vaguely unappetizing even to watch humans handling food. Sorry, Emeril. As far as I'm concerned, meal preparation should always take place behind closed doors. So rodents as chefs on the big screen? No, thanks, Ratatouille.

Gee whiz. We won't have Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip to kick around anymore. NBC burned off the final episode on Thursday. But I have to say I enjoyed these last few flashback-filled hours.

It was great the way the show signaled every time it was jumping back in time. Matt (Matthew Perry) looked exactly the same, except he was sporting either a backward baseball cap or hightop Converse sneakers. He looked like he had just stepped out of a comic wrapped around a stick of Bazooka bubble gum.


Contact TV editor David Hiltbrand at 215-854-4552 or dhiltbrand@phillynews.com. Read his recent work at http:// go.philly.com/daveondemand.