Television on her OWN terms

“It’s time to grow to the next phase,” says Winfrey of her latest endeavour.

The idea of launching a television network bearing her name terrified Oprah Winfrey. The debut of OWN — the Oprah Winfrey Network — gave the most powerful woman in media anxiety and even kept her up at night. And that’s exactly why she went ahead with it.

“A lot of people around me said, ‘You should hold onto “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” Why would you give that up?’ Because it’s time to grow to the next phase,” Winfrey told journalists at the Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena, Calif., on Thursday. “Whenever I have outgrown a circumstance or a situation, I move on regardless of whether I know what the future holds. I believed that even if [OWN] didn’t work, it was worth the risk.”

Winfrey exuded her trademark warmth and positivity as she spoke with critics, explaining that the network is “operating strictly from the point of view of how we’re going to serve [the audience],” a programming-first business model that isn’t the norm in television, she acknowledged [see sidebar for OWN’s early numbers]. “Obviously, ratings are important. They’re not as important to me right now,” Winfrey said. “We’re going to have some, you know, perhaps rocky times with the channel, keeping people there and keeping people motivated to continue watching. What I know is, just like that adage of ‘you build it and they will come,’ you serve them and they will come.”

Focus on positive energy

The name “Oprah” in itself is a huge draw, and giving her famous friends — BFF Gayle King, financial guru Suze Orman and sex expert Laura Berman, to name a few — OWN shows is a natural extension of the relationship fans have had with the talk-show queen over her series’ 25-year run. But the OWN programming philosophy is about much more than just likable hosts.

“The intention of this channel is to bring good energy, to bring your best self, to bring your best shows,” Winfrey said. “I have a sign [in my makeup room] that says, ‘Be responsible for the energy that you bring into this room.’ And I am very much aware of the energy that the television is transmitting all the time.”

Oprah Winfrey’s bestie, Gayle King, hosts a radio talk show that makes its television premiere on OWN this morning at 10 a.m. “We’ve been doing this on radio for the past four and a half — going on five — years, and so far, knock on wood, it’s been very successful,” King says of “The Gayle King Show.” “And what I don’t want to do is [screw] it all up TV. I want to figure out a way to capture the intimacy of what we do on radio and bring it to TV.”

OWN by the numbers

Viewers who made Winfrey a television institution over the last 25 years tuned in full-force for the Jan. 1 debut of OWN — 7.6 million people watched during its first day, a very impressive number. Ratings have dropped since initial curiosity in the network has died down, but Winfrey remains confident in her latest endeavor.

“You’re not going to get everybody,” she said. “But at this point in my life, I’m not trying to get everybody. I’m really not. I’m really only trying to get the people who want to hear it and who want to see it. And if you don’t, then I’m not talking to you, and that’s OK, because there’s a lot of people in the world. There’s room for everybody.”



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

NYPD looking for man they say assaulted elderly…

      The New York City Police Department is asking for the public's assistance in locating a Hispanic male 20's wanted in connection with…

Local

Three arrested after allegedly assaulting off-duty officer in…

Three men were arrested early Saturday morning after allegedly assaulting an off-duty officer at a Bronx bodega, and the NYPD is asking for the public's…

Local

Healthcare union creates vibrant West Indian Day Parade…

Volunteers worked almost around the clock through the weekend, putting the flashy finishing touches on hundreds of costume pieces 1199SEIU members will wear while marching…

National

Top 10 most hipster college campuses

Hipsters are everywhere these days. You can't walk down the anywhere anymore without seeing a pair of skinny jeans on a handlebar mustachioed 20-something, a…

Arts

Theater: Discouraging 'Poor Behavior'

Theresa Rebeck's latest off-Broadway play, about two couples sparring on a weekend getaway, repeats a few mistakes of her past.

Gossip

Chef Todd English arrested for DWI in the…

Celebrity chef Todd English is facing DWI charges after a traffic stop on Sunday.

Movies

Box office: 'Guardians of the Galaxy' is 2014's…

This weekend "The Guardians of the Galaxy" passed the fourth "Transformers" movie to become the highest grossing film of 2014.

Gossip

Spears back with controversial ex?

Is Briteny Spears back with Adnan Ghalib?

Sports

Novak Djokovic feeds off US Open crowd to…

Novak Djokovic isn't a native New Yorker, but he sure knows how to use the U.S. Open crowd to his advantage.

NFL

Odell Beckham still 'weeks away,' Tom Coughlin angry…

Giants head coach Tom Coughlin has fought a losing battle against the media all preseason over the status of wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

Education

These college students think breakfast is the most…

  It should be no surprise that the city that never sleeps is also home to the most students who like to order food in…

Sex

When it comes to dating, height matters

Does a man’s height really matter when it comes to dating? Unfortunately - according to a new study - the answer looks like it’s yes.…

Travel

10 free apps to make traveling easier

Finding the nearest bathroom, calculating currency exchanges and locating your departure gate must have been difficult for travelers of previous generations. But we wouldn't know,…

Travel

How to get a seat upgrade to business…

It used to be much easier to upgrade your coach seat to business or even first class, but rigid rules and tighter schedules have made…