(AP) Oprah calls her new cable venture a tough climb
By FRAZIER MOORE
AP Television Writer
Oprah Winfrey says creating her new cable network has turned out to be a steep climb.
The network has struggled to build an audience since its launch in January 2011. It recently announced severe staff layoffs and a management shakeup with Discovery Communications, the company that’s bankrolled it with $300 million-plus.
But Winfrey struck a hopeful note in her brief remarks, even as she allowed she’s still nowhere near the channel’s summit of success.
OWN was unveiling four new prime-time series, including “Elura and Michele Take Staten Island,” a reality series with two outspoken former prosecutors who tell people how to straighten out their problems; “Iyanla Fix My Life,” starring the author and inspirational speaker Iyanla Vanzant; “Married to the Army: Alaska,” which focuses on Alaska-based wives and families of military troops who are off serving in Afghanistan; and “Six Little McGhees,” about high school sweethearts Mia and Rozonno McGhee, parents of the first sextuplets born in Columbus, Ohio.
In addition, OWN will introduce a new game show, “Are You Normal, America?” It measures its contestants’ opinions and habits against those of the nation overall.
Winfrey’s appearance at the Discovery “upfront” presentation came the week she was interviewed on “CBS This Morning” about her challenges at OWN.
Among those mistakes: going on the air before the network was ready.
But Winfrey insisted, “I feel better about our network now, today, than I ever have.”