After ending her 25 years as a talk show host this past May, she is bringing her full attention (and some of her top staff) to the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN). The network is available on what’s known as a digital tier (meaning you have to pay extra to get access to it), much to the chagrin of many Oprah fans who previously enjoyed her show for free.
It’s not easy to start a new cable network — and such new niche networks are inevitably relegated to the higher tiers of digital cable or satellite. Can’t blame Oprah for that. What we can look to Ms. Winfrey for is the content of her network, and whether she fulfils on her mission to provide television content that makes a difference.
In her own words, in a recent post on Facebook, Oprah writes, “Our intention is to use the cable platform and the internet platform and the mobile platform to create messages that fill you up and bring you to new levels of awareness about yourself, ourselves, and our world; our potential… It’s an incredible challenge ahead trying to figure out what kind of shows and programming will resonate with you, inspire you, bring a little piece of light into your already crowded existence. But I feel called to do it, and will be relying on your feedback, emails and tweets and message boards to let me know what you think.”
So far, the best programming includes the fun and fascinating “Oprah Behind the Scenes” with its inside peek at producing the final season of her talk show, and the fascinating, revealing look into the life and spiritual rehabilitation of Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York. Other shows, which are not always a match for Oprah’s intentions, can be found here.
While everything is not a home run, we applaud Oprah’s efforts and intentions. We do, however, have a bone to pick with her: namely, why has OWN gone through 3 women CEOs since the network was announced 3 years ago (with Oprah herself now being named the fourth)? When I see in the press, “Oprah Winfrey has decided that if you want to get the job done, you’d better do it yourself.” I say, “…or, you could just empower the perfectly good, talented people you’ve already hired to do the job…”
Let’s make a difference on the macro and micro levels — from the content you serve to millions on TV, to finding an alternative to the way you publicly “forced” your female CEOs out of a job. While you’re at it, could you also solve the nation’s economy, education, and gun violence problems, too?
That’s not too much to ask, is it?