Oprah to Launch OWN TV Network

17 January 2008

NEW YORK: US media diva Oprah Winfrey (pictured) is setting up her own cable television network, slated to debut next year. But her own top-rated talk show won't be part of the programming schedule.

The new venture, to be called the Oprah Winfrey Network, is a 50/50 partnership with cable programming giant Discovery Communications.

The latter's existing satellite and cable distribution will beam OWN into 70 million homes across the US.

Content will be overseen by Winfrey - as OWN's chairman - but her popular daytime show won't be included because it is contractually syndicated to around seven million viewers across the nation's TV stations until the 2010-2011 season.

The Oprah.com website, with its average 3.6m visitors a month, is, however, part of the deal.

OWN will focus on money, health and relationships, an extension of the star's current TV format and a rebranding of the Discovery Health channel.

Says Winfrey: "I will now have the opportunity to do this 24 hours a day on a platform that goes on forever."

Adds Discovery ceo David Zaslav: "We will put all of our resources at Discovery ... to try and push through [OWN's] mission."

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff