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The Vacation Is Over: Oprah ‘All In’ on OWN

6/20/2011 12:01 AM Eastern

Chicago — Appearing onstage at the Cable Show
here last Thursday (June 16), Oprah Winfrey reassured
those in attendance that she’s fully committed
to her fledging network, OWN, which has had a
rocky start since its launch in January.

Winfrey said Discovery Communications CEO David
Zaslav told her early on in their discussions that
“we need you to be all in” or Discovery would walk.
Now that her syndicated show has finished its 25-year
run, Winfrey said she would be back at work in two
weeks.

“The vacation that I thought I was going to have is
kind of over,” she said.

When the panel’s interviewer, Investigation Discovery’s
Paula Zahn, asked Winfrey where she
would like her network to be in five years, Winfrey
clarified that it would need to get there in three.
“Patience is not a virtue of mine,” she said. (As evidenced
by the dismissal of network CEO Christina
Norman in May; Discovery COO Peter Liguori
is now running the channel on an interim basis.)

Winfrey acknowledged the soft ratings of
OWN’s early programming, saying it’s not as easy
to know what will work on a show that’s not her
own. “Yes it is more difficult,” she told Zahn.
“It’s harder to make that judgment for what other
shows can do.”

“I have committed everything I have to this cable
network,” Winfrey said. “And I wouldn’t bet against
me.”


Andrea Morabito is a staff writer at Broadcasting &
Cable.
September