Oprah Winfrey's OWN Network is rapidly rupturing
Many predict the network will be off the air within a year
When Oprah Winfrey left her phenomenal daily talk show, it was with the intention to launch and maintain her own TV network, OWN. Since then, the multi-million network has been plagued with difficulty and financial stress - losing a reputed staggering $330 million.
This gag photo intended to show her "sparse accommodations" Oprah Winfrey was forced to adapt to launch her OWN Network now appears strangely prophetic of the now financially strapped TV station.
While ratings have improved with the show, "Oprah's Next Chapter," it has struggled since the get-go with ratings of just 308,000 daily. Many believe that the shows in which Winfrey does not appear 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. Since hitting the airwaves in January of 2011, it has been rapidly losing viewers and dollars invested.
David Zaslav, the chief executive officer of Discovery Communications is famously impatient with money-losing operations within his company. Insiders say he will not put up with the ailing network's losses for much longer.
"I am in the climb of my life. I am climbing Kilimanjaro," Winfrey said, appearing before advertisers two weeks ago to ask for more time.
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.
The failure of Own would forever tarnish her image as the most successful TV star of her generation.
Symptomatic of OWN's failings is the debacle over Rosie O'Donnell's cancelled chat show, which was axed by the network after only six short months. Debuting with 500,000 viewers, viewership fell to half of that amount days later.
The TV stars both released statements, with Rosie saying she "wished the show was able to attract more viewers."
Oprah.com attracted 5.1 million unique users in January 2011 when her daytime chat show was still being aired. But by July it was half that number at 2.4 million.
OWN premiered on January 1, 2011, to an average of 505,000 viewers. One month later ratings plummeted to an average of just 135,000 with only 30 percent of those viewers in the targeted demographic of women ages 25 to 54.
The Rosie Show debuted on OWN with 497,000 viewers. Within a week the ratings plummeted to 200,000 per episode.
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Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2014
Respect for Women: That all cultures may respect the rights and dignity of women.
Vocations: That many young people may accept the Lordís invitation to consecrate their lives to proclaiming the Gospel.
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