Winfrey Has Network Of Her Own
The Oprah Winfrey Network -- or OWN -- will take over what is now the Discovery Health Channel, currently carried by cable systems serving 70 million households, it was announced Tuesday. It was not immediately clear what form the new channel would take, although, in a conference call with reporters, Winfrey said that she pulled out of the women's-oriented Oxygen Network, in which she was an investor and co-founder, because it "did not reflect my voice." In the case of OWN, Winfrey said, "I will have editorial control." She said that the network would use "the platform of The Oprah Winfrey Show but would not air reruns of the show itself, at least not initially. She has a contract in place with CBS Television Distribution (the show is carried mostly on ABC-TV outlets) through the 2010-11 season, at which time she would be free to negotiate a new contract allowing OWN to rerun past shows or move the show to the new network. No money exchanged hands in the deal. Winfrey's Harpo productions will own a 50-percent stake in the cable network with Discovery owning the other 50-percent stake. The new network is expected to launch in late summer.