Oprah's New Show Threatens Big Networks

Oprah Winfrey's new show
Oprah Winfrey's new show

Oprah Winfrey has announced that she will be back on TV next year with a new show that will air in the evening. That news should have big broadcast and cable networks more than a little worried.

According toThe Wall Street Journal, the show, called Oprah's Next Chapter, will air two or three nights a week on a new cable network she has established, the Oprah Winfrey Network. The paper says the episodes will be shot in different spots across the globe. "I'm going to take viewers with me, going to take celebrities I want to interview with me" around the world, Winfrey said in an interview.

The show will be the core of Winfrey's new network, which is a joint venture between her holding company, Harpo, and The Discovery Channel. The Journal reports that "Discovery is wagering $100 million on OWN. The Silver Spring, Md., company has promised to lend that much in start-up costs through September 2011 and has sunk in $35 million through Dec. 31, according to securities filings."

Although the network has not yet announced the times the new show will air, it could take viewers away from some of the most popular shows on established TV networks. A look at the current Nielsen ratings shows that Oprah could be up against highly rated shows including Dancing With The Stars (ABC), American Idol (FOX), CSI (CBS), NCIS (USA) and syndicated versions of Two And A Half Men. These shows have been on the air for years and are probably highly profitable for the networks that air them

But if memory serves, Jay Leno tried to move into prime time, and his show was a tremendous failure. Not every celebrity can pick a time slot and a network for a new program and be assured automatic success.