OWN Completing Its One-Month Anniversary

By Frazier Moore, AP Television Writer

NEW YORK – As it nears its one-month mark, the Oprah Winfrey Network has grown its prime-time audience by one-third over the network it replaced.

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OWN’s all-day viewership is up 25 percent over the year-ago audience for Discovery Health, the channel OWN claimed when it signed on Jan. 1.

Christina Norman, the network’s CEO, calls its first month “an encouraging start” and declares, “The idea works.”

“The audience understands what this is supposed to be,” she said Friday from the network’s Los Angeles headquarters. “It is not a network built around a person. It’s a network built around a person’s world view.”

That person, of course, is Oprah Winfrey, who is ending her weekday syndicated talk show this spring to concentrate full-time on her cable startup, which is available in 80 million homes.

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An average of 297,000 viewers are watching OWN in prime time, with an average of 145,000 viewers tuned in during the full day, according to Nielsen Co. data measuring the network from Jan. 1 to Jan. 23.

The network launched with seven new series, six of which Norman said have made a promising start.

The exception is “Your OWN Show: Oprah’s Search for the Next TV Star,” which has experienced audience erosion.

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The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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