Discovery Increases Funding for Oprah Winfrey's New Network


Oprah Winfrey is a famously busy woman. And she's about to get even busier. The talk show queen has agreed to increase her on-air commitment to The Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN), a joint venture owned equally by Oprah's production company, Harpo, and Discovery Communications (DISCA).

What that commitment looks like still isn't completely clear. But according to this SEC filing, at least, Winfrey has agreed to host or star in a show to air on OWN. Meanwhile, Discovery has agreed to increase its funding commitment to OWN from $100 million to $189 million. The joint venture also now has rights to distribution deals in the U.K. and Canada.

In April, OWN unveiled a lineup of original programming, saying the network will debut on Jan. 1, 2011 in approximately 80 million homes on what's currently the Discovery Health Channel.

OWN's All-Star Lineup

Winfrey, arguably the world's best-known TV host, will appear in several programs, including Oprah's Next Chapter and Oprah Presents: Master Class. Jay-Z, Bono, Simon Cowell, Lorne Michaels, Toni Morrison and Condoleezza Rice confirmed appearances on the show, OWN said. OWN also signed Julia Roberts, Forest Whitaker, Goldie Hawn and others for original two-hour documentaries. And Rosie O'Donnell will host a new daily talk show scheduled to debut next year.

The last episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show will air on Sept. 9, 2011. The top-rated daytime show, aired in over 140 countries, helped make the 56-year-old entertainer one of the richest Americans, with an estimated fortune of $2.3 billion. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Winfrey is also the top earner among talk show hosts with a $315 million annual salary.