Oprah to OWN LA or Just Create More Long Audition Lines?
Oprah Winfrey's new OWN network, headquartered in Miracle Mile, will launch on January 1st. Though the big premiere is only 11 days away, Winfrey has yet to hunker down in the Los Angeles offices which has raised questions about the viability of the channel, according to the LA Times.
The channel, aimed at helping people "live their best lives," has suffered from a host of challenges including three years of launch delays (the network was originally set to launch in the fall of 2009), a complete staff change and a fundamental lack of understanding about Oprah-esque programming sensibilities. Former MTV President Christina Norman was named the CEO in February of 2009 and admits they did "didn't have Oprah's DNA" fully baked into the programming until Oprah sent her own Executive Producer to Los Angeles to sort things out early this year.
The biggest challenge so far? Oprah's availability to devote more time to the OWN network while she is in the waning months of her longtime talk show in Chicago. Oprah herself has admitted as much. "I've built OWN with only 10% of my time, but I have surrounded myself with good people."
As the focus heats up on the new network's debut, rumors are swirling.
Will Oprah move to Los Angeles? Will her absentee producing be a recipe for disaster? Or will this be another Winfrey success? Perhaps the only thing that can be counted on so far: long audition lines may soon wend their way down Wilshire as hopefuls line up for a chance to participate in "Oprah's Search for the Next TV Star: Your OWN Show."