The Hollywood Reporter sat down with Oprah Winfrey to chat about the huge reversal in fortune of her OWN cable channel and the lessons she’s learned.
“I’m not doing the hula yet …but compared to a year ago, it feels like a sigh of relief,” says Winfrey between sips of iced tea on her sprawling estate.
The network debuted two years earlier to a deluge of headlines about weak programming, management shake-ups and its honcho’s dwindling influence.
“Part of my own expectation was, ‘You’ve had 25 years of success; people will leverage that,’ ” confesses the 58-year-old mogul. “But we didn’t account for people not having the channel, and not knowing how to find it, and the cable audience being different from broadcast.”
Today, the network, co-owned by Discovery and Winfrey, is generating fresh ink: 3.5 million viewers tuned in to see her mourn with Whitney Houston’s family as part of her “Oprah’s Next Chapter” interview series. Two-point-five million viewers watched as Rihanna opened up about her relationship with R&B star Chris Brown and 1.6 million watched her debate marriage and faith with Pastor Joel Osteen.