Oprah Gives Candid Explanation of Why Her Network Has Been Struggling

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NaturallyMoi.com Staff

Fans were understandably worried when reports that famed talk show host and cultural influencer Oprah Winfrey’s television network was struggling with ratings.

This was, Oprah. The woman who dominated daytime talk for decades, made authors stars overnight through her book club, launched a  successful magazine and influenced countless viewers.

The struggle with ratings had some wondering if Oprah had lost her touch.

With her latest documentary, a two-part series called “Oprah Builds a Network,” she gives viewers a peek into just what it takes and what she and how she and her team are dealing with the struggle.

The first part of the special premiered on Sunday, took viewers behind-the-scenes during the first year of OWN, the network she launched. The network debuted in January 2011 and Oprah became the networks’ CEO last July.

Oprah has said before when discussing the networks’ ratings that the network was not ready to launch when it did.

Initially, Oprah was so focused on creating the last season of her tv show that she wasn’t as involved with the creation of the network that she’d hoped to be.

In an interview with AdAge, Oprah said that her reputation raised expectations “beyond anything I was capable of doing on my own.” Yet some of OWN’s features and shows such as “Next Chapter” and “Master Class” have garnered the success usually associated with the media mogul.


  1. Elizabeth

    July 10, 2012 at 6:36 pm

    Why can’t African-Americans just support Oprah? It’s just the right thing to do.

    If Romney’s people can support a no-talent like him, why can’t we support a mega talent like Oprah?

    • BigWill

      July 10, 2012 at 9:00 pm


      • BigWill

        July 10, 2012 at 9:01 pm

        HIV is synthetic. It has been developed over a number of years and it has an affinity for people of color. What the science and medical evidence concludes is that the HIV enzyme seeks out a receptor site in the blood of the Black genome. The receptor site is the CCR5 Delta 32+ (positive) gene that all people of color have. In the same sense, on the other end of the spectrum, is the 15 percent Caucasian population of the world, which is CCR5 Delta 32-(negative) gene. That means that under no circumstances, whether HIV came through the air, intravenous drug usage or any form of sexual activity, would the virus be transferable in Caucasian sector of the world’s population, which is basically of northern European descent.

        I is speculated by some experts that, in a worse case scenario, 85 percent of the world’s population could potentially perish under these designer viruses and designer synthetic biological agents. What we’re looking at here—because of this identified gene of the Black genome, this CCR5 Delta32+ (positive)—we are potentially looking at the eradication of all people of color.The bible states “My people perish for lack of knowledge. The true devil doesn’t wear red tights, a cape with horns protruding from his forehead instead, the devil incarnate are diabolical Caucasian scientist (men and women) in white lab coats.

        • charlotte

          July 11, 2012 at 10:53 am

          Big Will,

          We get it.

    • beebee

      July 11, 2012 at 12:48 pm

      I am sure that one of the reasons why the ratings are not what they should be is because when you ask you Cable supplier (Verizon) to give you basic cable they automatically remove OWN from your line up of TV Stations.

      That is what I encountered when I wanted to lower the Cost of my Cable bill.

      I think Oprah’s Network is being short changed in this regard.

  2. Karen Denise

    July 10, 2012 at 6:40 pm

    I cant speak for America but Cable companies have made it difficult for me to afford OWN…$8.00 extra per month may not seem like a lot but it
    garnered a NO from my hubby.. He is the sole provider… I can not find a job.. I have 4 earned degrees and years of experience yet I cannot land a job in Atlanta’legal community or communications field!

    • DCRADAR202

      July 10, 2012 at 10:40 pm

      JUS’ DO IT!

  3. Stafunda Wilson

    July 10, 2012 at 7:02 pm

    I think Oprah is doing a great job. Now of course that is my oppion, but I stand by it.Oprah Winfrey is one of the most influential african americans in the history as we know. I advise whome and whatever entity is discreiting her accomplishments or just telling outlandish reports, are nothing more than a lies.

    When Oprah first startted her network, I knew should would be a hit.

    It sadden me to see some of the reports that discuss some of her undoings. When you should be cheerleading her being that the world was a direct was benefactor. So the end of day, again whoever you are you sould be ashme of yourself.

  4. Erica

    July 10, 2012 at 7:13 pm

    Totally, as a cable company employee,people ask about it but don’t want to spend the extra $$$$. What you can do is ask if you can get it free for 1-3 months as a trial, but note that you will not be called when the time is up.So it will be your responsibility to know when you will start getting billed, also you will be charged a fee (around $5.00)depending on provider to add or remove the channel, so be informed, her programming is great.

    • beebee

      July 11, 2012 at 12:51 pm

      thanks for the info Erica.

  5. Gilda Rogers

    July 10, 2012 at 7:14 pm

    I am a big Oprah fan and the best thing that she has going on her network is Sweetie Pies with Miss Robbie I love that show, Master Class, The Next Chapter and Super Soul Sunday everything else is horrible. She needs some cutting edge producers who think outside the box. How about a lifestyle show with some substance and natural haired sisters. How about giving a sister a roving reporter gig unlike Lisa Ling that focuses on our youth who are doing GREAT THINGS. She should do something with her students in South Africa. How about doing an expose on the new plantation – The prison industrial complex. Or how about interviewing provocative authors like Michelle Alexander who wrote “The New Jim Crow” and other authors . . . If Dr. Phil is on one more time I think I will SCREAM!!!

  6. rosemary davis

    July 10, 2012 at 8:11 pm

    Oprah can do a lot with Own but not on cable as been mention many people can not afford Oprah she should try a major Net work like ABC and see if they will take her show.She can do documentaries on Gangs,especially in the Chicago area what about Prisons,the Homeless,abused Women living in shelters,single parents, the HIV crisis among blacks a lack of jobs and the list go on and on but she chooses to focus on the elite as opposed the minority where there are major issues that need to be brought too the forefront so until she get away from the Kardashians,Fifty Cents and others like them her cable network will continue too slide.

  7. Dorian Mode

    July 10, 2012 at 9:16 pm

    Oprah has gone far away from her fan base. She assumes that everyone can afford cable. Let just face it the people who would watch the shows on OWN, don’t have cable. With the exception of Documentaries by Lisa Ling the rest of the shows suck,

  8. Delores Inyang

    July 11, 2012 at 12:35 am

    Oprah is an amazing black woman who has made a tremendous impact on improving others lives by allowing you to see the condition and finding a resolution. Also she introduced so many new people and helped them be their best selves and others to fulfill their dreams. I would like to see her continue that torch of helping others to accomplish their dreams and enlightening us about what is going on in the world. Also I would love her to help the younger up and coming generation who wish to make a positive impact accomplish them on her network whether through movies, film, talk shows or other endeavors.

    She has been a blessing to everyone already with the impact she made with her life through her show on ABC and I know that is her calling.

  9. Princess P.

    July 11, 2012 at 2:05 am

    Oprah Winfrey is a phenomenal woman. She is a brilliant business woman. I loved seeing her everyday on her talk show. Tackling breaking news stories. I would like for Oprah to let the network go and come back to regular tv. Oprah lost the fact that many of her viewers are average working people who cannot afford cable, so they cannot get OWN. Many of her international viewers did not have televisions. They would gather at a place an watch as a group. Oprah has millions, she has Stedman, and more money than she will ever need. Live your life Oprah. I believe you were much more powerful when you were more visible. Love you Oprah.

  10. Phillip Battle

    July 11, 2012 at 8:41 am

    Oprah did very well for herself and made a great deal of money for channel 7 ABC. She also should be thankful to her core supporters White Women. She’s all that! Now apart from the fan fair of her having money, fame,and a place in history as an individual who achieved the American dream can I write that Oprah used her platform to unite her brothers and sisters in this racist greedy society which made her who she be? Did Oprah gather those rich Negros together and bargain with the powers to be on network television for a spot. People Oprah can also be seen as the way the African Americans fail to unite on a larger level that’s to say how we don’t control nothing of significant as far as banks,construction/ housing,and supermarkets. If you can’t fed and house yourself in today’s world you will eventually become insignificant. Now tell me where are the true movers and shakers? I’m tired of the high paid entertainers who better keep their mouths shut, before their toys be taken away. So my
    People of African decent- let’s stop being so superficial about what our negros have- and realize power is when we can go to institutes that employ by the thousands that enable you and I to raise our families.

  11. DT Henry

    July 11, 2012 at 9:08 am

    I believe a major factor in Oprah’s success was her accessibility to mainstream viewers. Now that she is on cable she has lost a vast amount of viewers due to affordability.

  12. DT Henry

    July 11, 2012 at 9:08 am

    I believe a major factor in Oprah’s success was her accessibility to mainstream viewers. Now that she is on cable she has lost a vast amount of viewers due to affordability.

  13. richard

    July 11, 2012 at 10:26 am

    I agree with Ms. Davis, look at Ms. Winfrey’s daily line-up- no Afrocentric shows can be found. This would be a great opportunity for Ms. Winfrey to put African American’s issues on the forefront instead of re-runs of Dr. Phil or the other lady talk show host. But then again, look at who Ms. Winfrey surrounded herself with when she open an expensive restaurant in Chicago in the 80’s and this would clear up the confusion on why We don’t watch her network.

  14. Joy

    July 13, 2012 at 8:39 am

    I started watch OWN, but the programming sucks. Dr. Phil, Dr. Oz and Suze all have their televisions shows on the networks. I don’t want to watch them on OWN. I love it when Ilyana VanZant is on, she and Oprah offer the greatest information and insight. I would love to see a few sitcoms, talk shows and documentary’s. Enough cook shows, and reality television is already dominating the other stations.
    While Rosie, Suze, Dr. Oz, Dr. Phil and Sweetie Pies are diverse, it is not something people want to sit around and watch all day… along with Beverly Johnsons reality show. And the Kardashians 10 minutes of fame to me are about up.

  15. MarLissa

    July 17, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    Oprah has always come up to expectations in the past, and many will pray that she can do so as well with her new network, OWN, in the future. This new entity is only two years old. All the other networks had many years to cultivate their programming — so why can’t we give OWN the same opportunity. Even though I only care for about 1/3 of the programming at the moment, I nearly always check what’s on OWN before making my selection. Give OWN a fair chance before condemning the programming.

    I do plan to write to Oprah about several suggestions as a follower. However. while I enjoy catching up with re-runs of Dr. Phil, I can hardly stand the law enforcement and other male-oriented programs. It surprised me that Rosie was not successful, and equally well I was surprised at how much I enjoyed Gail’s show — which has now been eliminated since Gail has been siphoned off by CBS. (Kudos for her). I was entranced by “Sweetie Pie’s” and got caught up with Beverly (the model)’s show which I found rather appallingly pretentious yet at the same time fascinating. (I ended up not thinking as well of her but more hopeful for success for the daughter — whatever! I still watched.) I enjoy Lisa Ling’s presentations. Oprah had to be successful with her Monday evening programming in which she appeared and was broadcast around the world.

    However, Oprah can’t be everything to everybody. She is only one human being and does a phenomenal job at what she does right now. Yet I think her most popular shows are the ones she appears on. Even though we would like more Black programming visibility, Oprah also has to appeal to a wider audience; and that is not only fair, but necessary to respect the fan-base she has had for years. I enjoy her international appeal and can respect a multicultural programming that even the majority population can enjoy as well.

    I mainly love OWN’s Sunday programming and believe she should re-broadcast her 11:00 a.m. show later in the evening for those who are in church at that hour. Her interviews with or biographical presentations of famous people is superior and critically acclaimed. I too am waiting to see Iyanla Vanzant’s upcoming program. But I also am awaiting the exploration of other topics: e.g., I long to learn more about her school in South Africa and the lives of the girls she will be transforming — but I can see some problems in that as well.

    Yes, it would be good to have more shows of various cultures to increase her audience base and some to pull in the Black population as well. We don’t know what is in store for OWN, but I know that we all need to give it a fair chance to Grow!

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