You couldn't ask for a better star to build a new network around than Oprah Winfrey, who just might be the most popular entertainer in America. But will her magic be as potent on cable as it was on broadcast -- and in prime time as it was in daytime?
The Oprah Winfrey Network revealed details of its initial programming slate Thursday, among them are plans for a show that Winfrey herself will host. While the network, a joint venture of Winfrey's production company and Discovery Communications, is slated to launch Jan. 1, 2010, the show, Oprah's Next Chapter, won't premiere until sometime after The Oprah Winfrey Show concludes its 25-year run on Sept. 9, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The new show will differ in key respects from that long-running talk show. One is scheduling: Winfrey's familiar audience of afternoon viewers will have to tune in sometime in the evening. While it doesn't have a fixed time slot yet, plans reportedly call for it to air several times per week rather than daily -- a potentially jarring change for her daytime devotees, who tend to be ruled by habit.
Oprah's Next Chapter will also take place outside the studio. According to an OWN release, "Oprah's getting untethered from the chairs, opening up her world and taking you with her. From the Taj Mahal to her beloved oak tree, the Great Wall to her own teahouse, it's a whole new kind of Oprah show."
Well, not entirely new: Winfrey did have a prime time show on ABC two years ago. That series, Oprah's Big Give, followed Winfrey's efforts to aid philanthropists in their missions. Despite having some ratings success, Winfrey chose not to do a second season.
Other shows OWN has announced include Visionaries, an interview series with artists and performers; Your Own Show: Oprah's Search for the Next TV Star, produced by reality guru Mark Burnett; and Gayle King Live!, a talk show hosted by Winfrey's best friend.
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