January 16, 2008
Get it, girl
Oprah Winfrey is getting a TV network of her very own.
The Queen of Daytime and Discovery Communications announced a deal Tuesday under which the Discovery Health network will be handed over to Winfrey next year and renamed OWN—the Oprah Winfrey Network.
Winfrey, who will serve as chairman of the venture, called the deal “the fulfillment of yet another dream for me.”
Creating her own network was, she said, a goal she’s had for the last 16 years.
“I said from the beginning that this was an opportunity for me to step out of the box and make the kind of shows that make my heart sing,” she said, emphasizing that she planned to keep the focus on “mindful, not mindless, television.”
“We couldn’t be more excited to be in business with Oprah Winfrey,” Discovery Communications chief David Zaslav said Tuesday. “There’s no stronger brand in media than the Oprah brand.”
No money changed hands in the deal, which involved Winfrey turning her Website, oprah.com, over to Discovery, as part of the multiplatform venture.
The mission statement of the new network, Zaslav and Winfrey said, will be helping people to live their best lives.
Winfrey will have full editorial control over programming, which she said will touch on many of the same issues she currently covers on her eponymous talk show, including money, weight, health, spirit and family life.
“It’s about unleashing the power of human potential, that’s what it’s about,” she said.
“The idea of creating programming that’s just really good for people was the most exciting thing I’d ever heard.”
Winfrey declined to discuss the specifics of shows currently being developed for the network, indicating that it was still to early to go into details.
“I’ll be talking about it a lot once we get the stars!” she said.
In addition to her responsibilities at OWN, Winfrey will continue her duties with The Oprah Winfrey Show, which is slated to run in syndication at least through mid-2011.
Once her contract ends, however, she said the show could potentially jump to OWN.
Besides hosting her talk show, Winfrey puts out O magazine and oversees operations at her production company, Harpo Inc. She also has her own XM satellite radio channel, Oprah & Friends, which began broadcasting in September 2006.
Last year, she opened the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa.