Oprah, Discovery Partner On TV Network
Oprah Winfrey and Discovery Communications are partnering to create the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN).
OWN will launch in mid-2009 in 70 million homes, on what is currently the Discovery Health Channel. The venture will include Oprah.com. Winfrey will have editorial control over the joint venture and will be responsible for the network’s programming and branding.
"Fifteen years ago, I wrote in my journal that one day I would create a television network, as I always felt my show was just the beginning of what the future could hold," said Oprah Winfrey, who will serve as chairman of OWN.
"For me, the launch of ‘The Oprah Winfrey Network’ is the evolution of the work I’ve been doing on television all these years and a natural extension of my show."
Oprah’s talk show will not be moving to the network anytime soon. The show is syndicated to TV stations through the 2010-2011 season. It’s not clear after that if it will move to the new network and it is not a requirement in the deal with Discovery.
Winfrey will act as chairman of the network and the venture will be equally owned by Discovery and Oprah’s company Harpo. This is a cashless transaction and OWN will be an independent company.
Discovery will handle the distribution, origination and other operational requirements for the venture.