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Oprah’s Not Owning “OWN” Thus Far

Many new shows on network TV are given a few weeks to get their sea legs. Other shows are treated differently because so much time and money has been invested that they are forced into the deep end of the pool regardless. Drown and the money drowns too.

But when it’s a network owned and operated by the media queen of the universe Oprah Winfrey, expectations are high. Time doesn’t exist in the same way other shows do.

After five weeks, OWN is, well, not doing to well. Even Oprah’s bread and butter target audience – women 25 to 54 – is neither bread nor butter. Kinda crazy considering if you Google the word “own,” three of the first four hits are about Oprah Winfrey’s network.

OWN premiered in 85 million homes. That’s 85 percent of the homes in the U.S. that have cable. Oprah has also put her money where her channel is, paying more than $110 million in start up costs.

Despite all the hoopla, the most glaring issue is going to be the involvement –or lack thereof– of Oprah herself. She told the LA Times that she only put in 10 percent of her time to the network but “surrounded herself with good people.”

The program roster is an Oprah all-star team with polarizing figures like Rosie O’Donnell in the bullpen. But as USA Today bluntly put it, “the biggest draw will be Oprah herself” and right now, there’s not a whole lotta Oprah on OWN. Only three out of 18 programs on the channel feature Ms. Winfrey.

Oprah rarely makes mistakes but let’s not forget her involvement in the Oxygen Network. The one that lost all it’s air and almost drowned before NBC Universal provided some mouth-to-mouth.

The Oprah Winfrey Show wraps this spring and we know she’s putting her heart and soul into this final season. Only time will tell whether the Queen of Daytime can become the Queen of Cable.

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