Oprah’s OWN Still Raking In Dismal Numbers

by Ezinne Ukoha

The former Queen of Daytime Television has still not been able to bless OWN (The Oprah Winfrey Network) with the Midas touch. After Oprah ended her talk show reign and went out with a big bang, this past May, it was assumed that she would enjoy the same level of success with OWN, considering her enormous popularity and solid team of programming execs. But it’s starting to look like this “new kid on the block” may end up costing more than its worth. Discovery Communications, who has been the struggling network’s consistent supporter, has not only invested a big chunk of money, $15 million to be exact, but also added some of the more promising programs to their own schedule to encourage viewership, but all the efforts have been in vain.

This past summer Oprah was appointed CEO, and with that came a revamping session, that included changes in the programming format and shuffling of the staff.

But the numbers don’t lie and the road is bumpy with lots of craters and potholes along the way.

Despite the discouraging forecast, David Zaslav, who heads Discovery Communications, remains positive and believes OWN will overcome the challenges and make its mark in the landscape of television.

Maybe it is too early to write off the validity of Oprah’s newest springboard, but this could also be a nagging indication that her luck is finally running out.

  • Perverted Alchemist

    Did she really need to start another cable network? I mean, she has had Oxygen for the last decade or so, and that’s doing a lot better than OWN right now.

  • Jane

    OWN is really good. The life classes, Sweetie Pie, and Lisa Ling are really good programs in my opinion. Maybe she should add a music show and more young talent.

  • B.Payne

    It’s still too early to tell.

  • Mel

    Rome wasn’t built in a day. It will take time, but Lifeclass is great.

  • Sia

    It would be kind of weird to watch Oprah’s lifeclass on Oxygen right after watching an episode of the Bad Girls Club where they beat each other senseless. The two networks have two complete different agendas and target audiences.

  • LN

    I think it is too early to tell. But I do think Oprah needs some younger programming. Her target demographic is obviously way older (and whiter) than me.

  • Nai

    Younger programming is definitely needed. Also I don’t understand why she gave Rosie O’donnell her own show? Was the necessary? I’m waiting for her to give Iyanla Vanzant her own show. I can’t wait for that!!

  • starr

    I personally like OWN….but I don’t watch TV these days….reality tv has turned me off of the tube almost completely.

  • Ann G

    Really, why are we still writing articles about this. OWN just launched at the beginning of this year. Some of the top cable networks of today- -Bravo, Oxygen – -took YEARS to get viewers.

    How about somebody write an article about OWN’s new show Welcome to Sweetie Pies? Lord knows y’all written about The Kardashians enough…

  • Pretty Cute

    I agree! I love all those shows and Lifeclass and I just started watching “Don’t Tell The Bride” on Tuesday and it is a new favorite. I’m rooting for Oprah and OWN and I’m excited to see what’s in store next

  • HoneyDew

    Amen!!!!!

  • lovely day

    Yea, the programming is kind of.. I do want to check out LifeClass someday. I think she should add reruns of the Oprah Winfrey Show. Where else are we going to see those? Additionally, she should put Mary Tyler Moore reruns. Basically things that she mentioned she liked in her show and tie it to the reruns she would show. That’s one of my ideas. She should put like a BET Teen Summit kind of thing. A place for young people or young adults to discuss different topics. I don’t know whether Oprah knows this, but she can put a Black show on her network. It can be widely appealing if done correctly.

  • rkj

    I’ve started checking out OWN and I like the shows they have. I DVR Rosie, Sweetie Pie’s and Lisa Ling. Not too interested in LifeClass.

    It’s far too early to judge OWN. I think there were a few missteps in rolling it out. The network really needed Oprah’s attention and presence at the start when interest and curiousity were high. However, it’s too soon to write this one on off. I’d be interested in seeing OWN’s numbers compared to Discovery Health’s numbers when it first started. DiscHealth had a decade to build up an audience. I believe OWN is hurting because it doesn’t have any new Oprah content to promote (LifeClass is little more than reheated clips from OWS with some added advice). It’s unfortunate that she couldn’t (or wouldn’t) move the syndicated OWS to her network for a season to help get it off the ground floor.

    I also think OWN will face an uphill battle as far as attracting people to uplifting and inspirational TV. People say they don’t want to watch trash (i.e. Kardashians, VH1 reality, Housewives)… yet they watch. What people say they want and what they really want are often two different things.

  • rkj

    I think my comment was eaten. Never posted. Will try again here.

    I’ve started checking out OWN and I like the shows they have. I DVR Rosie, Sweetie Pie’s and Lisa Ling. Not too interested in LifeClass.

    It’s far too early to judge OWN. I think there were a few missteps in rolling it out. The network really needed Oprah’s attention and presence at the start when interest and curiousity were high. However, it’s too soon to write this one on off. I’d be interested in seeing OWN’s numbers compared to Discovery Health’s numbers when it first started. DiscHealth had a decade to build up an audience. I believe OWN is hurting because it doesn’t have any new Oprah content to promote (LifeClass is little more than reheated clips from OWS with some added advice). It’s unfortunate that she couldn’t (or wouldn’t) move the syndicated OWS to her network for a season to help get it off the ground floor.

    I also think OWN will face an uphill battle as far as attracting people to uplifting and inspirational TV. People say they don’t want to watch trash (i.e. Kardashians, VH1 reality, Housewives)… yet they watch. What people say they want and what they really want are often two different things.

  • http://@clnmike Clnmike

    Im not a fan of her or her network but people act like the business has been going on for over 10 years now? It will take a while to get it right, they just have to stick with it.

  • Jess

    I love “Don’t Tell the Bride”. It’s beyond cute, I love it. Now if she would just play “Their Eyes Were Watching God”!! Why she never plays that movie, I dont understand. It was soo good.

  • entro

    Its my understanding that oprah divested from Oxygen a while ago because the other partners wanted to go in a different direction i.e. bad girls and the other negative reality programs that it airs

  • michelle

    I agree 100%!!

  • kdyd

    Yes clutch you should give Oprah a while!!! damm it took Oprah show 15 years to become big ! I love OWN I wish we had it her in Europe. USA TV SUCKS but I only missed OWN and CBS.

  • Mimi

    Exactly B.Payne. What most people don’t realize is that the overwhelming majority of cable channels start out with low ratings. CNN didn’t really pick up steam until about 7 years after they started. This is gonna take at least 5 years to find their footing.

  • http://nesheaholic.com LaNeshe

    The discovery channel that the channel was before OWN was free. For me, OWN is a pay channel, I don’t get it without a bumped up Comcast package,so I don’t have it. That has to account for the rating of the channel being lower now than they were when it was a free channel.

  • orchard72361

    No see it’s not too late or early to determine Own’s repretation. Oprah is getting what she deserves. For the past 25 years, Oprah main focus was to please white women and now she’s feeling the affects of the behavior. You can say what’s on your mind, but the truth and the results of being this type of person will hunt you one day and her day is here regardless of her being a billionaire. Her ratings is falling so go get you some black people stories and movies to boost the ratings. Oprah receive thousands of black stories sent to her studio by black people when she was at Harpo, but had her staff filter those into a file for the Dr. Phil Show that’s airing today. Dr. Phil has no problem with ratings, but Opie refused them because they were too black!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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