Oprah Winfrey network earns early raves


By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: Oprah Winfrey welcomed 2011 by launching her eagerly anticipated OWN Network and, so far, the critics are being kind.

Critic Alessandra Stanley wrote in the NY Times that the new network “was most striking for what it lacked: nowhere in that opening gush of feel-good highlight reels, self-improvement plans, spiritual quests, aha! moments, celebrity master classes, and people finding their truths and living their own best lives was there a snicker of malice or a hint of raillery.”

OWN, Stanley continued, is “a place where cynicism takes a holiday and mockery hasn’t yet been invented.”

That sounds very much in tune with the tone of Winfrey’s long-running, beloved daytime talk show, which frequently promoted but only occasionally probed.

It’s the first step in OWN’s journey. The Philly Daily News reports that future endeavors for the network include:

– A reality series on the wind down, after 25 years, of Winfrey’s syndicated daytime talk juggernaut “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” “Behind the Scenes: The Oprah Show Final Season.” airs Saturdays and, like other OWN fare, will have frequent repeats.

– “Master Class,” a series where such boldface names as Diane Sawyer, Simon Cowell, Jay-Z and Condoleezza Rice will show how they’re just like the rest of us. Airs Sundays.

– “In the Bedroom with Dr. Laura Berman” will counsel couples to help them repair their sex lives. Airs Monday.

– “Your OWN Show: Oprah’s Search for the Next TV Star,” where 10 contestants compete to win a hosting job on their own OWN show, so to speak. Premieres Friday.

“There are so many things happening here at OWN, and we’re just getting started,” Winfrey said in a statement. “Every day, here’s what I’m hoping – that you will find something here to inspire you.”

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