Maybe Oprah’s OWN Should Quit While It’s Ahead

The Oprah Winfrey Network premieres on New Year’s Day, and frankly, it may never get any better than this.

Tons of publicity. Oodles of interest. Stories all over the place.

Now they actually have to put on programming — all of it graced with the Oprah seal of approval, but precious little of it actually featuring her — that people want to watch.

Of course, the first problem will be finding The Channel Formerly Known as Discovery Health at all. Mercifully, OWN provides a link to help with that on its website. I can’t tell you how relieved I was to discover that it’s on 279 on DirecTV, right up there near the Hub and Disney XD.

The official sign-on notwithstanding, I think the real signature for OWN will be its ability to create new personalities plucked from Winfrey’s rib. By that measure, the show to watch will be “Your OWN Show: Oprah’s Search for the Next TV Star,” described as follows:

In each episode of “Your OWN Show, “ from Executive Producer Mark Burnett, hosts Nancy O’Dell and Carson Kressley guide the hopefuls through intense challenges designed to see if they have what it takes to have their own show.  Each episode the contestants will be mentored by A-list hosts. Dr. Phil, Suze Orman, Gayle King, Arsenio Hall and more will make appearances on the series, to guide the contestants and judge the episode. Challenges will range from producing style makeovers and cooking segments to successfully completing a pilot presentation.  The winner will receive – their very own show!

Hey, it might work — and stranger things have. But if I was running things at Discovery and OWN, I’d declare victory right now and hope nobody pays close attention again to the network’s performance until Oprah’s syndicated show goes off the air later this year.


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