Two months ago, Oprah Winfrey made television history debuting her very own network, OWN, the Oprah Winfrey Network. Bolstered by her popular television show, Oprah’s departure from network TV to her own cable channel seemed like a feat only she could pull off.

Except two months in, Oprah’s millions of fans—who usually snap up anything she blesses with her seal of approval—don’t seem to be turning in. OWN’s less-than-stellar ratings have some wondering if Oprah lost her golden touch.

The New York Times writes,

“OWN, her two-month-old channel, is attracting fewer viewers than the obscure channel it replaced, Discovery Health. At any given time this month, there have been about 135,000 people watching OWN, according to the Nielsen Company, and only about 45,000 of those people are women ages 25 to 54, the demographic that the channel is focusing on.

Those ratings levels, down about 10 percent from Discovery Health’s levels last year, are being carefully watched by people who would like to rebuild cable channels around other celebrities, and by investors who worry that OWN is a drag on Discovery’s stock.”

So what’s the problem? How can Oprah, the reining Queen of television, be failing?

Well, her people say it’s due to a lack of original programming.  In an interview with The Times, Christina Norman, OWN’s chief executive said Oprah’s fans were used to original shows, not recycled reruns. She muses, “We opened the store, and they cleaned us out, so now we have to restock the shelves much faster than we thought we did.”

To OWN’s credit, the network is pulling in approximately 42 million viewers per month, and are only a few short of Norman’s 50-60 million views per month goal.

Despite its lukewarm reception, however, Christina Norman thinks things will get better once new shows are added and Oprah makes more appearances on the network.

Until then, viewers will just have to be patient.

Do you watch OWN? What are your thoughts on the network so far?

 

  • T-Strang

    I will keep watching. Her behind the scenes season 25 show is really good

  • Mimi

    I watch the behind the scenes show. But other than that, I haven’t watched anything else because it’s all reruns. Considering she had more than two years to develop this channel, I would have thought that she would have more original programming and less reruns of Phil, Oz, Orman, etc. Her ratings being low doesn’t really constitute a failure to me. Everyone knows that when something new is out, everyone flocks to it to see what its about. Then when the buzz dies down, people tend to disappear. When she gets more original programming, and the travel show where she will be featured, I’m sure her fans will come back.

  • sweet pinky

    my husband and i watched 2 of the master class episodes (jay-z & maya angelou) and anna & kristina’s grocery bag. master class was okay but i’m not an oprah fan and got tired of her popping up every break or so to give her 2 cents about the people being featured.

    we love anna & kristina’s grocery bag but the show’s already in reruns on her channel. i’m pretty sure that they haven’t aired all the episodes that have been filmed (yes, i checked imdb.com) so that makes no sense to me and brought me back to not watching the channel at all.

  • OhPuhleezee

    Haven’t seen it. It’s not free and the bundle of channels that come with that package don’t interest me.

  • Kara

    I applaud her for what she has done and what she is doing. I wish her all success as her station grows and she finds programming that will help grow her audience. This statement by her sums up a lot about what she’s facing to draw an audience.

    “Just a few weeks ago, I started thinking maybe I’m wrong. Maybe people really do want to watch housewives bicker,” Winfrey said. “I could absolutely be wrong about what I think people want to watch, and this could be the biggest lesson ever for me.”

    She’s missing an opportunity to tap some of the new media out here, let’s say for example she had a segment with someone from Clutch Magazine, now that would draw an audience.

  • kesha

    I agree that the behind the scenes show is the best show on the network. Lisa Ling’s Our America (I think its called that) is a close second. Other than that, everything is a rerun of shows from other networks, and ratings would be a lot better once new original shows are added.

  • sunshyne84

    I think she may have taken on more than she can handle. That quote was silly. You’re running a network, how could you not serve up new original programming? Maybe she should have waited a little longer to debut the channel. Hopefully things get better for her audience.

  • jazzyphile

    Maybe the former owner of BET (who was roundly poo pood) is right and O needs to open up her programming to other people. Enough with Dr. Phil, Oz, Orman allready!

  • Shon

    I say do you Oprah. The title of this post should be your damned if you do and damned if you don’t. I’m sure BET wasn’t in every black household when it started and the ratings were low. As Oprah the tv show wasn’t a huge hit when it first came out the gate. With time it will improve.

  • http://www.eclecticstylez.com Faye

    I like the behind the scenes show but I wish there was more diversity in the programming.

  • Tammy

    I watch it and will continue to watch. I loved the show with the 3 “gurus” giving advice together (Dr. Phil, Dr. Oz & Suze) but I could do without the reruns. Lisa Ling’s show is good too. It’s only been two months; give it time.

  • anonymous

    I dont want to watch it. My reason: when she did her OWN show contest casting thing, lots and lots of people dedicated to style and such posted and submitted vids and show ideas. Ironically NOT ONE of the OWN show people are about STYLE even though that was a topic you could choose to be about. I think she and her camp had their own agenda wanting to use big name established stylists/designers etc, and didnt really want any of us out there who hone our craft without the glitz glam and fancy contracts and endorsements. Because of that, OWN does not get my viewership. Its unfair to hold a contest and not choose any of the winners of a category YOU created.

  • Cheryl P.

    It is not surprising that the ratings are down. Primarily because there isn’t enough original programming to support a full network schedule. In addition, my personal dislike is that most of the new programming is reality TV. I know there are a number of new shows slated for the fall but obviously there will be a rating slump until then, plus Oprah currently doesn’t have a show on there and as long as her “fans” have access to her by watching the remainder of her last season there is not enough momentum to make the shift.

    I do like Master Class and O All-Stars….the reruns were a turn off for me.

    Just my two and a half cents ;-)

  • yvonne

    I watch Our America with Lisa Ling on OWN. I love this show, Lisa Ling is a great reporter. I also watch Behind Bars, an 8 episode show that is following young women in prison. The interviews with the families of the prisoners have been presented differently than any I have ever seen in this type of show. This show is not typical of prison shows. I also love Master Class. It’s always great to see Oprah interview anyone. So, I am going to hang in there with OWN. I think its going to be a great network soon.

  • Inez

    I have tried to watch OWN, but its too boring for me. I already watch Dr. Phil, Dr.
    Oz, etc. that is enough of them for me. Give me something new. Also, I don’t
    like Gail King as an entertainer. In my opinion, she has no talent. She had her
    own show and look what happened.

  • Antoinette

    The OWN channel is totally boor-ring. I gave it a shot, but could only watch a few moments at a time. There is NOTHING original about the shows and in reviewing the proposed line up – OWN can forget it. I wouldn’t waste my time watching any of the future hosts OWN plans to have. The OWN channel is one big Oprah – poping in here, there, everywhere 24/7. Utterly depressing, and, nausiating is putting it mildly. The new OWN channel sealed it for me to get rid of cable TV totally. Maybe OWN should air full episodes of OPRAH’s old shows (without the boring repeat of a few shows over several days/weekends). Maybe OWN should have streaming (unpaid Oprah) of its format to maintain and/or improve viewship. I do hope OWN finds a winning format for the network. Right now what OWN is doing ISSSS not it!

  • Kimmy

    I watch Season 25, and Master Class. I keep forgeting to watch Our America. Other than that, I’m not interested in reruns. I understand that there will be some ‘filler’ television, but it seems that is the majority right now. Season 25 lets you look behind the curtain, and into the mind of Ms. Winfrey (of what she will allow you to see – I know we’re not getting all of it). I also love Master Class because I really am learning from the people telling their stories. Yes, there needs to be more original programming.

  • http://aol Miss P

    I can not get this station in my area

  • Alexandra

    I was interested in what the channel was going to offer, but the programs just don’t interest me.
    I see reruns of old shows and programs. I was watching ‘What Would You Do’ last week. I’m still giving it a chance, but I can say for now, I think its boring.

  • Greg

    Behind the scenes is my fav. I try to watch other stuff but it seems way to serious for me. I want to be uplifted and inspired, but not put to sleep in the process. I wish they would add a high def station. I’m still in Oprahs corner.

  • Yvonne F. Beatty

    I cannot afford the cost of extended cable, which I would need to watch the OWN productions.

  • 10toes

    More and more people are cutting corners in this economy. Cable channels/packages are on that list. In the fall/winter I have the basic cable. Come spring/summer I cancel that, and use the converter box. No time to watch tv, too busy outdoors and keeping busy.

    In the fall/winter, I still don’t watch much tv.

    Lots are not bothering going to movies anymore, the price is outrageous for tickets. People again, cutting out “extras”.

    Now, with the cost of gas going up daily, and soon to reach over $5 gallon, more and more will be cut from budgets.

  • http://twitter.com/Prissily Jennifer Elise

    I’d watch it just for support’s sake, but it’s not in my cable package.

  • The Taker

    Waiiittt…. Stop the goddamn presses….

    This>>>> Also, I don’t like Gail King as an entertainer. In my opinion, she has no talent. She had her own show and look what happened.

    Gayle had a show????? When?What?Why?How?????

  • Ann

    My budget has required me to cut cable altogether thus I rely on the Internet for a lot of the cable shows. I hoped that OWN would embrace the Full Episode model that would enable more people to support the network.

  • jun

    I hid OWN Network so I don’t have to watch it accidentally . oprah is very conceited and very narcissistic . I hold this network fails and never comes back . her network is always about her and her and her ….

  • Mary

    I no longer watch Opra since she has gotten political.She supports the worst president since Jimmy Carter. If you take a stand you pay the price.

  • http://www.Tolu2Books.com Tolu2Books

    Oprah has done what no other women of color has ever done before yet many people appear to have been waiting for her to fall on her face with OWN.

    Which one of you have done anything for anyone to talk about for 5 minutes much less all the years Oprah has been on top of her game? Which none of you know anything about or have you even been on TV for an hour.
    Sick People!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Tolu2Books

  • Robyn

    I have never liked her show; So no I would never tune in to the network. From the line up I saw it looks really boring..

  • Sheryl

    I also will not support Oprah since she became political. She ONLY supports Obama
    because of his skin color. This country has such a double-standard when it comes
    to being prejudiced. It is ok for some, but not others. I also agree that she is very conceited. I just don’t know why people like her so much. Maybe she needs to fall in order for her to be brought back to Earth and reality again. Her head has gotten a bit too swollen.

  • jolie

    OWN is a boring channel. I would like to have Discovery Health back, there were some very interesting shows that I miss now. Oprah was fine for a one hour show, but her self centered personality has gone too far and this move will bring her down. Didn’t help that she has supported the worst president ever! Just because he is black… well, 1/2 black. Yup, prejudice is only bad when its whites being prejudice. You really need to step back and take another look at your motives Oprah.

  • http://CLUTCH MAXINE

    Oprah was a success on her “Oprah Winfrey Show” because it was prime time and catered to her white audience…she followed THEIR way of thinking; with the acception of “special programming” for blacks, the substance of her show was “white” along with the expensive gifts, trips, and celebrities; books, new shows, etc. was projected toward continually promoting “white thought”; supporting Obama did not change the basic concept of her show, which is what made her successful and rich.

    I felt that when she started her OWN network, it would not succeed simply because White audience are fickle and if they are not benefiting in some very public way; i.e. gifts, all the glitz Oprah showered on “them” (white) they would not support her….It was never about OPRAH, it was because she continually supported their “superior mindset” and Oprah catered to that very successfully….now it’s over and Oprah can never captivate that level again…..she could have used much of that success to elevate more people of COLOR, which would have (possibly) helped her as a Black woman. It seem somehow odd that a woman of color would not WANT to give a wider exposture to people who LOOKED LIKE HER!….

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-LX7WrHCaUA JACKIE

    JUST LIKE HER MAGAZINE ALL OPRAH ALL OF THE TIME….ITS TO MUCH BUT WHEN U HAVE AS MUCH AS SHE HAS YOU CAN DO WHAT YOU WANT AND HOW…GAIL JUMP SHIP AND HER SHOW WAS VERY BORNING

  • Diana

    Bo I don’t watch OWN and I didn’t watch Oprah on TV. Ever since she introduced BO when he was running for president I lost interest in her and her show.

  • orchard72361

    Oprah made history when she decided to have a 95% white audience! I knew it was coming to her the way she belittled her culture for other cultures. Talk show host should not make a differences in race nor their gender and that’s what Oprah has been doing all these years. I don’t care how much money she has, the truth about her has come out. She refuse to associate herself with middle class people and now her big ass is about out the door with her millions. She have the nerve to teach! Teach what? I don’t understand why Tyler Perry hanging around her. Tyler and Oprah are too different people. Tyler is supporting his people by emplying them and Oprah are for the rich white woman. Tyler, get the hell away from Oprah!

  • orchard72361

    Oprah, get you another hair stylist! It’s a dam shame you got millions of dollars and your hair looks like a blind women weaved your hair. Around your forehead, it is very obvious Reggie combs your hair over the weave or the lace front wig. I should not be able to observe from my television where your weave started and ended. Really, it’s time for you to go!

  • dickie dewrags

    Oprah is a gorilla faced racist I would rather sit in the dark than watch that fat nasty lesbian p.s. you want to boost rating air the little rascal reruns

  • Tena

    The OWN Network is the best cablw network to date along with Bravo and TLC. I love the cool reality shows on Bravo and TLC. My favorite show on OWN is the new Rosie Show. I’m a HUGE Rosie fan. I absolutely love Rosie’s tenacity and tremendous intelligence. She’s my kind of gal who tells it like it is and isn’t afraid to do so. Rosie’s new show is doing great I heard. It’s too bad that production of the new Rosie show no longer has a studio audience:( I attended a few tapings of Rosie’s former talk show and it was so much fun. I got to say hello to Rosie at the tapings and she actually remembered me from the audience from prior shows that I attended! That was so cool:) I wish Oprah and Rosie well. They are the greatest women in TV. They have done more for humanity than anybody because of their generousit, intelligencey and love. Why, oh, why couldn’t Rosie or Oprah run for president? They would be the best presidents ever aside from Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.

  • Tena

    That is a very mean and unwarranted thing to say about Oprah. It is also extremely untrue! Oprah is BEAUTIFUL! Perhaps you’re just gealous of Oprah’s beauty. People who feel inferior about themselves will always cut down other peoples appearances.

  • http://bing hannah

    I cannot believe how utterly boring the own network is. She has every liberal from America on her network. She has shopping, cooking, house buying, BORING!!!!! I feel like I’m watching an infomercial channel. Please oprah, go away and live your life with your billions of dollars. Why not help your people in the inner cities that are screwed because of your good friend obama, who is KILLING the country. Because you and your liberal rich friends don’t have to worry about a job, vote the loser back in. Why don’t you take a trip around America and see the suffering for yourself, then ask if you are really going to vote a marxist in to office for 4 more years. Which by the way will for sure kill America forever.

  • Jaydin

    Let’s see the “3 guru’s” Dr. Phil (Fraud), Dr. Oz (Very questionable regarding his integrity. Holistic “remedies” are ALL bulls***), Suze Orman (Fraud). Even old Oprah herself is about as genuine as 3 dollar bills printed on Charmin. Enter the OWN’s program lineup: several blocks of rerun episodes of banal 48 Hours Mystery and several blocks of reruns of the egregiously tasteless Dr. Phil Show. Is The OWN Network in triple jeopardy? Is the pope catholic?!!!

  • Min

    Just untrue. Stop making race a divisive issue. She’s pro-human. If you only value people just like you, you are the problem, not Oprah, not “white audiences”, no one else.

  • ks

    I feel people are really sick of her throwing her money in everyone s faces. We are in a recession and everyone around me is suffering . She has totally lost touch with reality. I stopped watching her when she declared to Toni Braxton , that shes Oprah and she doesnt even have gucci flatware. No, just everything else she wants. boo get off the stage! Boring , Boring , Boring

  • An Exclamatory Particle

    The OWN Network is the ultimate snoooooze channel. Do we really care about has-been B list celebrities on Where Are They Now? Not I!

    Is it necessary to broadcast blocks of quack “Dr.” Phil episodes? Yeah, I know, shallow minded folks love this guy. I know Dr Phil’s a charlatan. “Dr.” Phil’s show is right up there on the “gag-ometer” along with Maury Povich and Jerry Springer.

    So I don’t know if I’d become heavily sedated or suffer a major gastrointestinal event, or both, watching The OWN Network for just a few minutes.

    Don’t get me wrong now I’m not singling Oprah’s network out as being the worst. The vast majority of cable networks are inferior now. I’ll never watch CBS, NBC, ABC or Fox again. They’re the worst. That’s one reason why I don’t watch the old tube anymore.

    Cable and satellite subscriptions are a rip off! The internet is going to prevail over cable and network television. It’s already happening.

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