by Hauwa Gambo
Before anyone uses the F word for her, Oprah Winfrey, the goddess of television for millions across the world, has gotten there first – admitting, after one year, that the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) wasn’t such a bright idea. This follows months of cutting jobs and cancelling shows.
Speaking to America’s CBS morning, the billionaire spoke candidly about her mistake in launching the channel, as well as other content and operational moves that led to an underwhelming start.
“I didn’t think it was going to be easy. If I knew then what I know now, I might have made some different choices,” she said to “CBS Morning,” a programme co-anchored by her famous best friend Gayle King. “If I were writing a book about it, I could call it ‘101 Mistakes’.”
According to the LA Times, “OWN launched with an ambitious slate of programming, including a documentary of the female-to-male transition of Chaz Bono and a reality project on acting family Ryan and Tatum O’Neal. Nothing caught on with viewers, however, aside from the Oprah-led speaker series ‘Masterclass.’”
“It was like having the wedding before you were ready, and walking down the aisle saying, ‘Oooh, should we really be doing this?’ ” Oprah said, adding that. “I (should) have probably waited until I actually finished ‘The Oprah Show’. Because from the day that David Zaslav (the head of Discovery Communications) came in to see me, I said to him, ‘The thing that I’m worried about who’s going to lead this train because I can’t do it.’ I know how hard it is to do a daily show…and I’m in Chicago and that’s in Los Angeles. That’s going to be very hard.”
It is a theme she has also touched on in the new issue of her eponymous O magazine, where she writes a letter to a much younger Oprah – a photo of herself at 20 when she started out – sharing words of wisdom.
“Even then you understood that success was a process,” she said. “And that moving with the flow of life and not against it would be your greatest achievement.”
But Ms Winfrey isn’t quitting – no way – not the network, and certainly not television. As an African American woman, she said, there is no such thing, adding that she feels better about the network now than ever before. Interestingly, the network just announced
a network distribution deal with Comcast Cable today.