Oprah still dedicated to OWN channel despite ratings

Thursday December 29, 2011

Oprah Winfrey has said she is relishing the chance to turn around the fortunes of her TV channel after a disappointing first year.

The US TV star launched the Oprah Winfrey Network after calling time on her massively popular Chicago-based talk show.

The cable channel, which marks its first year on January 1, is trying for a fresh start after viewers snubbed the line-up that skimped on programming and, surprisingly, Oprah herself.

Her limited on-air presence will now be boosted with a new weekly series, Oprah's Next Chapter.

"Yes, some mistakes were made. Who hasn't made mistakes? The real beauty is you can say, 'I learned from that'," Oprah said. "I don't worry about failure. I worry about, 'Did I do all I could do?'."

OWN has failed to improve on, or in some instances even match, the modest ratings and small audience earned by the low-profile Discovery Health channel it replaced.

"I would absolutely say it is and was not where I want it to be for year one," Oprah said. "My focus up until (last) May was doing what I do best, which is The Oprah Winfrey Show, and giving that my full attention."

Year two for OWN will reflect executive changes made last July, when Oprah expanded her role at the channel by adding the roles of chief executive and chief creative officer to her position as chairman.

There will be more scheduling consistency, movies, original series and "a lot more Oprah in general".

New show Next Chapter turns the once studio-bound Oprah into a globe-trotting interviewer who drops into the home of a Hasidic Jewish family in New York, George Lucas' Skywalker Ranch in California and cook Paula Deen's Georgia estate.

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