Oprah on OWN's Early Content: "Too Stoic and Too Serious"
The first year of Oprah Winfrey's cable network was a challenge for the talk show queen. OWN struggled in the ratings and several series flopped. In an interview with Vulture, Winfrey credits execs Sheri Salta, Erik Logan, the channel's partnership with Tyler Perry and other programming changes with OWN's turnaround. She also copped to the cabler being too serious early on. Here's an excerpt:
You also had to make a big shift in the kinds of programs you put on OWN.
I have a tendency to look at everything from the point of view of: What is going to be meaningful, and uplift people? That can become too stoic and too serious—which is the same issue I suffered with at the magazine in the beginning. It needed more humor. So we [began] looking for lighter fare. Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s works. Iyanla: Fix My Life was also a turning point. Having programming that was in alignment with the vision but also left the space to widen the lane for the vision. If it were up to me, I’d be doing [Winfrey’s Sunday talk show] Super Soul Sunday conversations all the time.
It turned out the masses didn't want to simply live their best lives; they also wanted to have a little fun!