It appears that Oprah Winfrey was better off having her syndicated talk show before running her OWN Network after reports that she has lost $330 million on the project so far, and that means dramatic changes could be forthcoming.
Industry insiders believe the channel will not last another year, unless they come up with a hit show.
Though ratings have seen a rating’s increase thanks to interview program Oprah’s Next Chapter, it has stumbled since the get go with ratings of just 308,000 daily.
It is believed that any show which does not feature the chat show queen herself are not popular with viewers.
Discovery, which partnered with Winfrey to launch the network and has been underwriting its costs, has invested nearly $600 million in it since 2008, according to an extensive report in Businessweek magazine.
David Zaslav, the chief executive officer of Discovery Communications who talked Oprah into the idea of OWN, is famously impatient with money-losing operations within his company and insiders say he will not put up with the network’s losses for much longer.
Winfrey appeared before advertisers two weeks ago to ask for more time, telling them: “I am in the climb of my life. I am climbing Kilimanjaro.”
Although she doesn’t risk losing a lot of money from the channel’s failings, Oprah’s reputation is at stake.
Over her 39-year career, The Oprah Winfrey Show had as many as 12.5 million viewers. O, The Oprah Magazine had more than two million subscribers. And her Internet site, Oprah.com, draws more than three million unique visitors a month.
Her image as the most successful TV star of her generation is on the line.
Do you think Oprah’s TV Network will shut down this year?