Oprah Winfrey channel debuts Saturday, but is it time for a new network?
Oprah Winfrey, whose successful syndicated show is in its last season, is launching her new cable TV network OWN to start the new year. The move is a risky one, media analysts say.
Television mogul Oprah Winfrey is known for being quick to jump on the latest pop culture trends.Skip to next paragraph
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But, with the debut of her very own cable network, OWN (for the Oprah Winfrey Network), it is clear that she is also abundantly patient with the things that matter to her most.
The idea reportedly first came to her back in 1992, when she jotted a memo in her private journal about the possibility of someday having her own network. On Saturday, New Year’s Day, that dream finally comes true.
Beginning at noon Saturday, OWN – a joint venture between Winfrey and the Discovery network that replaces the Discovery Health Channel – will roll out a sneak preview of upcoming shows.
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Also on the debut roster: an exploration of social trends from Lisa Ling, “Our America with Lisa Ling”; a family-themed intervention-style reality show, “Kidnapped by the Kids,” in which a group of children take back family time from workaholic parents; and a self-help declutter-your-life tutorial, “Enough Already!” Also coming in January is "Ask Oprah's All Stars," which showcases her top TV "finds" such as Suze Orman, Dr. Phil, and Dr. Mehmet Oz.
Not 'Oprah TV'
Most noticeable for a new flagship venture – arguably the first self-titled channel in the cable universe – is the extremely low profile of the founder herself as she winds down her syndicated TV show before coming over to OWN.
“This is not about creating Oprah TV,” says OWN CEO Christina Norman, the former MTV president. Oprah is deeply involved in launching the initial shows, Ms. Norman acknowledges, she hand-picked the first eight choices for the “Master Class” interviews. But, she adds, the purpose of the network is to take the vision Oprah has espoused for a quarter of a century on her syndicated TV program and in her magazine and expand that into a full schedule.