Oprah Winfrey’s New Network

Oprah Winfrey’s New Network

No time to vacation as Oprah makes OWN the next chapter in her life

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The next chapter in Oprah Winfrey’s life is going to be a lengthy chronicle of her determination to make her vision for OWN, the Oprah Winfrey Network, come true.

“It was not until we were on the air that I fully started to grasp what it means to have a network where you are the ‘OW’ of the ‘OWN,’ and what that really means,” Oprah said proudly during a session with the Television Critics Association at the Langham Huntington Hotel in Pasadena, a week after launching OWN.

“I was thinking about this journey to get here in terms of the whole of my life, and how absolutely extraordinary it is when you tell your story. It is absolutely extraordinary that I can sit in this place with my name on a network.”

Oprah recalled her past, coming from a little town of Kosciusko in Mississippi, growing up without a television. “That’s what I thought of when I saw those first few moment of myself doing the introduction to OWN,” she told the TV writers. “I thought about standing on that red dirt road and having gone downtown in Attala County, to Kosciusko. Watching television from a Sears and Roebuck store, and asking my grandmother, ‘Could we please get a TV?’ and she said ‘No,’ because it was the devil’s work.”

Oprah– You’ve come a long way baby!

Nowadays, the sincere and gracious Oprah Winfrey is an unparalleled media mogul and international superstar.

OWN has exceeded all expectations in the financial reports by experts.  The ratings are great, and advertising will probably have the network turn a profit in its first year. That’s unheard of in broadcasting.

The new cable channel is packed with lifestyle, educational, and inspiring programs. “The whole network is about encouraging people to live with an open heart. It’s about opening yourself to all that is possible,” Oprah said.

Wearing the color purple, the talk show queen (who turns 57 on Jan. 29) was a delightful interview, talking about her new network. And on the personal side, she surprised everyone with her answer when I asked if she ever felt like “taking a day off from being Oprah?”

“Yes, many times. I have felt the same as everybody. The difference is I have a TV show and I don’t have a sub host. I have to show up even when I’m not feeling one hundred percent. Sometimes I’ll come out and they [the audience] say ‘You look tired.’ I am tired, people,” she sighed at the thought of those exhausting days. That’s when she is shooting The Oprah Winfrey Show, which will come to an end this May after 25 ultra-successful years on the air.

But even though her talk show is ending, and she’ll get a break from being in front of the cameras, Oprah told me that taking a vacation and traveling for pure pleasure is a long way off. That’s because she said she had to make a big shift in the way she thought about creating and launching her own network.

“I was under the illusion that I could have a network, and build it, and travel the world, finish my show, build a boat, go to France, sail around and come back, do a show every now and then, check ‘how are things over there at OWN, and carry on with my life,” Oprah joked about how simple it might have sounded to her at first. Now she knows the reality of having a network with her name on it, and the time it takes to do it right.

“So the shift for me was that I was not going to be able to have that ‘relax, take it easy, travel the world’ life for at least the next three years. But I do need to see the world, and have a little more balance. That’s exactly what I’m striving for. That will be a successful life for me.”

Oprah assured that she is looking forward to having a vacation in 2014.

 


Margie Barron has written for a wide variety of outlets including Gannett newspapers, Nickelodeon, Tiger Beat and 16 Magazine, Fresh!, Senior Life, Production Update, airline magazines, etc. Margie is also proud to be half of the husband and wife writing team Frank & Margie Barron, who have written together for various entertainment and travel publications for more than 30 years.

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