Until now, the Oprah Winfrey Network has been all bread (or rather, all brand), and no meat. But that all changes with Winfrey’s announcement — broken in the Wall Street Journal — that she will host a new primetime program on OWN, the joint venture between the host and Discovery Communications.
It’s a huge coup for Discovery chief David Zaslav, and instantly puts OWN on the map. Because the truth is, the Oprah seal of approval without the woman herself goes so far, as those force-fed projects featuring her pal Gayle King through the years can attest.
Winfrey, of course, has launched all sorts of experts within the confines of her talkshow, but lacking that daily syndicated platform, OWN needed more than just “Oprah Says” to sell the network. And even having just a few hours of Winfrey in primetime — which the channel will likely repeat several times — ought to be enough to give OWN a significant ratings footprint, and a foundation to build other female-oriented franchises.
Winfrey’s “live your best life” mantra is swell and all, but without her, there’s no way OWN could be all that Discovery wanted it to be.
After several fits and starts, it only took one thing to make OWN a player: Oprah deciding to buy, in essence, instead of just rent.