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Oprah Winfrey to Launch OWN on New Year’s Day

This Saturday, January 1st,  Oprah Winfrey will launch her much anticipated Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) to 85 million homes across the country. The network is launching in partnership with Discovery Communications, who put up $110 million to make it happen. This despite the fact that Oprah says she only put 10% of her time into launching the network.

The LA Times just posted a second profile of the endeavor in the past two weeks on its Show Tracker blog.

A marquee show on the new channel will be “Oprah Presents Master Class,” a biography series showcasing Winfrey’s conversations with such luminaries as Maya Angelou, Condoleezza Rice, Diane Sawyer and Simon Cowell.  Twenty-five episodes of “Season 25: Oprah Behind the Scenes” will follow the making of the final season of “The Oprah Winfrey Show.”  Personalities nurtured by Winfrey, including Phil McGraw and Dr. Mehmet Oz, will be featured in prime time.  Winfrey herself encouraged the Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson, to participate in a six-episode documentary series called “Finding Sarah,” which, according to OWN, will explore Ferguson’s “lifelong battles with weight, relationships and finances.”

Winfrey said she is not worried about the ratings produced by shows during the channel’s first few months — despite the harsh glare of the spotlight.

“We will make adjustments as we go along,” she said.  “It’s only going to get better.”

We’ll have to take Oprah’s word on that one, because there’s no way we’re watching OWN’s debut. Nothing personal, O. New Year’s hangover. We might find a way to watch some football, but we’ll most likely spend most of the day eating greasy food and soaking our entire body in aspirin-infused ice-water.

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