As Oprah ramps up to last show, OWN silently suffers
By Kim Palacios
hollywoodnews.com: With the final episode of “The Oprah Show” looming, media focus has been on an increasingly-impressive list of guests, from former Duchess of York Sarah Ferguson, to Ralph Lauren and family, to scorned California First Lady Maria Shriver. Yet, as the billionaire drives towards what ABC is hyping to become the most memorable finale in its network’s history, another network, Oprah’s Discovery Network venture, OWN, continues to suffer in silence.
Signs of trouble were evident when it was announced on May 6th that short-lived CEO Christina Norman had already made her exit; Discovery Networks COO Peter Liguori assumed the interim role amid rumors that recently stepped-down MTV head Judy McGrath would assume the role.
Though recent weeks’ ratings outperformed other Discovery Networks franchises during the same weeks in 2011, both Discovery Communications Chief Executive David Zaslav and Winfrey admit that OWN has been a “slower start” than anticipated with results falling “below their expectations”.
“I feel like I have not begun to give anything to OWN,” Winfrey told The Hollywood Reporter. “I wouldn’t even say 10 percent of my time is on OWN right now. But it will be. [After the end of Oprah] I can start to give my attention to OWN that it deserves. It’s going to improve exponentially with the amount of time and service I can give to it.”
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