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!

7 Responses

  1. Profile photo of thecourt99

    This is no different than Fox and the WB. Programming targeting at a specific audience helped propel the stations. When they got where they needed to be, and was able to take risks….they started programming what they really wanted to show.

  2. Profile photo of Jon

    OLTL finishes up its OWN run this week. OWN only skipped one episode. After OLTL ends on Thursday, I will no longer watch OWN. Absolutely nothing there that interests me now…

  3. Profile photo of pferrando

    I think she has yet to find the correct mix of programming for that channel.

    I’ve tried tuning in, as I do like her, but the shows just aren’t entertaining.

    I’d prefer to sit down and just watch an old Oprah episode.

  4. Profile photo of brettyboy

    I really hope she continues with the trend of airing soaps the way she has been with The Haves, OLTL and AMC. Perhaps Oprah could pressure Prospect Park to make more OLTL, I can dream…..

  5. Profile photo of Daring2bReal

    Personally, I believe that OWN’s early content was underrated. I love the more motivational content. Super Soul Sunday is the most incredible show. You cannot feel anything other than wonderful after an episode!

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