December 30, 2011 03:58 PM by Ashley Lee
Though Oprah Winfrey ended her network television talk show with tearful goodbyes and high hopes for the future, her television channel OWN has yet to collect praiseworthy ratings. In fact, it’s generally doing worse than the niche audience channel it replaced. What will Oprah do to being new life to her channel in 2012? And what’s her plan if she continues to strike out? Read on for a preview of Oprah’s exciting new show, premiering Sunday and featuring Steven Tyler!
Oprah Winfrey remains realistic but positive about the future of her OWN network:
“Yes, some mistakes were made. Who hasn’t made mistakes? The real beauty is you can say, ‘I learned from that,’” Winfrey said. “I don’t worry about failure. I worry about, ‘Did I do all I could do?’”
The cable channel’s first year featured executive turnover and management errors behind-the-scenes, and not very much of Winfrey herself upfront in the on-air programming lineup. OWN has failed to improve on or match the ratings and small audience of the low-profile Discovery Health channel it replaced.
“I would absolutely say it is and was not where I want it to be for year one,” Winfrey said. “My focus up until (last) May was doing what I do best, which is `The Oprah Winfrey Show,’ and giving that my full attention.”
How does Winfrey plan on revamping her cable channel? In July, she expanded her role at the channel by adding the roles of chief executive and chief creative officer to her existent position as chairman. She’s shifted around a few other leadership roles, adding veteran Harpo executives to the team and dismissing others.
In addition, programming will feature more scheduling consistency, movies and original series, including her new show Oprah’s Next Chapter – things that the channel sorely lacked all throughout its first year. “I don’t understand what anybody was thinking. You’re going on the air, you’ve got four shows. What do you think you’re going to do by Tuesday? Did they think people were going to turn on the channel just because it had my name on it?” she said.
She’s the woman who has been known to make miracles happen; how much effort is Oprah devoting to her channel? “Everything I’ve got. I’ve spent more energy doing this than anything I’ve ever done in my whole life.”
Of course, there’s always the opportunity for a career change.
“If this doesn’t work out, I’m going to go into organic farming in Maui. And I’m not kidding.”
Check out the sneak peek of Oprah’s Next Chapter, her new weekly series with guests like Sean Penn, Paula Dean, George Lucas and more. The first episode features the newly engaged Steven Tyler of Aerosmith and American Idol!
Oprah’s Next Chapter premieres this Sunday at 9pm/8c.