Will Oprah Reboot the Media?

New TV networks don’t launch every day. It’s a big deal when they do, especially when they can reach 80 million homes from the very beginning, as OWN, the Oprah Winfrey Network, will on 1/1/11.   Created to provide “meaningful television,” Oprah says, “it’s a channel where people will see themselves, and their ideals and their values and their hopes, see their struggles, see who they are through the lives of others — in a real way, that enriches them.”

Oprah goes on to say, “…you can do anything you can imagine — you can create. Anything you can imagine, you can create.  You can give a show to anybody, to any idea, to any concept.”  So the question is, to whom (or what) is she giving shows to? And will it make a difference?  So far, there seems to be a heavy reliance on go-to experts from The Oprah Winfrey Show:  Dr. Phil, Dr. Oz, Suze Orman, organizer Peter Walsh, etc. as well as celebrity features and a smattering a real life stories — just as you’d see on the current Oprah Winfrey Show.

So the question is, will watching Oprah and her friends, always available 24/7 on one network, make a difference?  Oprah aims to have the network be a space where viewers can be comforted, get guidance, be entertained and have fun.  Definitely her fans will make this a TV destination (if they can find it on digital cable or satellite — check this channel finder for your area.)  Will it reboot the media?  Like peace, let’s give it a chance.

You can watch OWN beginning January 1st if you currently receive Discovery Health Network (which OWN is replacing — check the channel finder), or sample the shows and watch for episodes to be posted on www.oprah.com/own.  UPDATE:  Now on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/own.

UPDATED COMMENTARY:  THE FOLLOWING COMMENTS by RebootTheMedia were published in The New York Times and The Huffington Post:

“The larger social point is that media creates reality, and it matters what people are tuning in to. Do we live in a world of ‘people finding their truths and living their best lives’ or do we live in a deeply divided nation of Republicans and Democrats? Watching OWN 24/7 could certainly lead to a kinder, gentler, more compassionate social being than watching non-stop bickering partisan pundits on what passes for news 24/7.
While the subject matter on OWN is universal (as Sarah Ferguson says, “we are all the same, actually”), the theme is personal growth and development. While that can make a big difference in individual people’s lives, for the media to be truly rebooted (i.e. make a difference), we must take what we’ve learned and apply our a-ha! moments to the problems of the world. Hopefully OWN will get to that — and whether or not they do, there is plenty of room in the TV landscape for others to pick up that mantle and run with it.
Note: RebootTheMedia (www.RebootTheMedia.com) supports the growing movement to produce and deliver content that inspires, motivates, educates, and generally contributes to the human spirit, serving a substantial audience that is increasingly fed up with negative content and hungry for something more uplifting and relevant.”

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Categories: Online, TV

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1 reply

  1. I totally agree with your assessment. I think the media in general has underestimated the number of people who are tired of cynicism and negativity and want to shows that inspire them and recharge them.
    I also am concerned about self-growth expanding outward into action in the community whether it’s volunteering at a nursing home or getting involved in your kids’ school or whatever. The idea is not to spend all your time contemplating your selfhood but to recognize your interconnectedness and draw strength from that even as you contribute to the well-being of others and the planet.

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