Discovery Communications chief David Zaslav hasn't given up on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN), and has urged advertisers and investors not to do so either. "My job, Oprah's job, is to create a meaningful audience for OWN over the next two years," Zaslav told a media conference in New York. "That's what you should watch for and I think we're on our way." Nearly a year after it was launched on January 1, the audience for OWN is down significantly below that of the Discovery Health Network, which it replaced, averaging only 202,000 total viewers in primetime in November and just 76,000 women 25-54, the demo on which it focuses. On the other hand, Zaslav pointed out that OWN's Saturday-night show Welcome to Sweetie Pie's , a reality show set at a soul-food restaurant in St. Louis, averages 388,000 total viewers and has developed a solid following among African-Americans. He also noted that a recent episode of Our America about African-American men in prison, also drew solid numbers among black viewers. "The African-American community is finding OWN a little bit faster than the rest of America," Zaslav said. He also predicted that Winfrey, arguably America's favorite African-American personality, will boost ratings for the channel when she debuts her new talk show, Oprah's Next Chapter, in January.

08/12/2011