You guys heard all the conversations about Oprah’s strategy for saving OWN? To catch you up in case you aren’t watching, and let’s face it very few of us are watching, Oprah axed Rosie’s show and laid off at least 30 people in March from the LA and NY OWN offices.She recently went on with Gayle and Charlie on the CBS morning show. During the interview, Oprah admitted that she had made mistakes, and would have made different choices had she known then what she knows now. She conceded they launched the network before it was ready. She cushioned the low ratings by saying she thought people wanted to see her fail out of a sense of schadenfreude. Oprah articulated OWN’s revised strategy as building programming popularity one evening at a time. Oprah said the network can’t be focused on her, but that contradicts her scheduled cameos on most of the network’s new shows like Sweetie’s and Lovetown, USA. Oprah can’t appear on every show on the network, and I’m not sure it would matter if she did, because OWN’s content skews towards an older audience and for the most part is profoundly unexciting. Of the four new shows Oprah picked up, which would you watch?
- Elura and Michele Take Staten Island (about two former prosecutors/current friends who “tell it like it is”),
- Iyanla Fix My Life (centered around author Iyanla Vanzant’s self-help advice),
- Married to the Army: Alaska (unscripted Army Wives in the frontier), and
- Six Little McGhees (parents vs. six babies).
Oprah presents an optimistic front, but she looks exhausted and seems to know that under the current rubric, this network isn’t ever going to reach success. Financial analysts predict losses upwards of $140 million this year. So why doesn’t she cut her losses and move on? Ego? Delusion? Contractual obligation? Sheer obstinacy?