- (Photo: Reuters / John Gress)
Oprah Winfrey’s latest venture has proven to be not as easy as she thought it would be. The Discovery Channel, which has ownership in the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN), is throwing $15 million towards the struggling channel to save it.
With a soft launch of OWN back in January, the channel created by Winfrey has not had the Midas touch like the rest of her projects. Ratings for the channel have been far below the Discovery Health Channel, which was replaced by OWN.
Now to combat the network from crumbling, the New York Post reports that the Discovery Channel is funding OWN with $15 million, topping the original $10 million it spent to promote the launch last year. Since its conception, OWN has received over $200 million from Discovery.
According to OWN insiders, the reasons for the decline in viewership are due to an unclear brand, and that the channel has a place too high on the cable channel lineups. However, most importantly people have said that the main reason the network is failing is because the network does not feature Oprah enough.
In order to stop the bleed of viewers, OWN is changing the lineup of programming to feature Oprah more. The channel announced that Oprah will star and host in two programs; “Oprah’s Next Chapter,” and “Oprah’s Lifeclass.”
Television host Rosie O’Donnell concedes that OWN has had a struggled start to life, but she is also adamant that the network has now fixed its problems. O’Donnell has her own talk show debuting on OWN next week, and Discovery execs are hoping she can kick-start the channel to success.
“For Oprah and the network, we do start on Monday. We begin the actual real launch of OWN.
“It was sort of a soft launch in January, and now we begin again,” O’Donnell admitted during a press conference to reporters.
Discovery Network is in agreement. It announced that TLC, Planet Green, and other Discovery Network channels would simulcast the premiere of the “Rosie” show.
Discovery CEO David Zaslav isn’t too worried about the struggles of OWN. David explained to Forbes Magazine that he’s excited about the new programming and believes that having Oprah as the center of the network is an excellent idea.
Zaslav states, “This is the moment we’ve been waiting for (regarding OWN).”
With the debut of the new programming, and the addition of $15 million, the OWN network will be put to the test next week to see if the Winfrey brand is still hot.