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?