Oprah Winfrey didn’t realize starting her own cable channel — the Oprah Winfrey Network known as OWN — would be so difficult. And if she had known, she probably wouldn’t have undertaken it, she said Monday on “CBS This Morning.”
“The idea of creating a network was something that I had wanted to do,” she said under questioning from co-hosts Charlie Rose and Gayle King, Oprah’s best friend.
“Had I known that it was this difficult, I might have done something else. … I didn’t think it was going to be easy, but … if I knew then what I knew now, I might have made some different choices. I would say that if I were writing a book about it, I could call the book ‘101 Mistakes’.”
“Give us maybe the top five,” Charlie interjected.
And Oprah answered, “Launching when we really weren’t ready to launch and doing that because you had announced you were going to do it, and it’s like having the wedding when you know you’re not ready. … Now it’s really Monday morning quarterbacking [but] I would have probably waited until I finished the ‘Oprah’ show.”
That’s been one of the criticisms leveled at her, that she was so focused on producing the sensational final season of “The Oprah Winfrey Show”, which concluded in May 2011, that she was uninvolved in the simultaneous launch of OWN in January of that year. In her “CBS This Morning” interview, she never got around to the other four “mistakes.”
Oprah’s appearance on the CBS morning show, announced just last week, had been long anticipated, ever since King became one of the co-hosts of the revamped “Morning” earlier this year. Oprah was apparently in New York for two reasons — one was to produce two episodes of her Monday night series on OWN, “Oprah’s Lifeclass,” in which she shares the stage with a renowned motivator. Monday night’s show, airing live at 8/7c (April 2), will feature Tony Robbins and Oprah on-stage at Radio City Music Hall.
She’s also taping next week’s show from the same venue — with Deepak Chopra. And she’s also in town to promote OWN, which will announce some new shows later this week along with all the other Discovery-owned networks.
OWN, of course, has been struggling, with various reports coming out every few weeks or so detailing its mounting losses in the hundreds of millions of dollars. She said on the CBS morning show that she hasn’t lost hope. “We haven’t failed,” she said flatly, refuting the media accounts that say the network has failed.
And she has no plans to quit the network either. “I am here to fulfill a calling,” she said. “I will die in the midst of doing what I love to do, and that is using my voice [and] my life to try to inspire other people to live the best of theirs.”