1. Industry
Send to a Friend via Email

Your suggestion is on its way!

An email with a link to:


was emailed to:

Thanks for sharing About.com with others!

Glenn Halbrooks

The Oprah Winfrey Network Falls to 73rd in Cable TV Ratings

By July 25, 2011

Follow me on:

For the television icon who's used to being on top, Oprah Winfrey is getting some sobering news. Her Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) cable TV channel has dropped to 73rd in the cable TV ratings among its target audience.

A photo of OWN cable TV channel CEO Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Winfrey finds herself struggling to boost the ratings for her Oprah Winfrey Network cable TV channel.
Photo © Getty Images
Its ranking had been 45th for the first quarter, so dropping to 73rd place for the second quarter shows that ratings are in a free fall. TV Week reports that OWN is in last place among all women-focused cable networks.

Winfrey took a risk by ending her daytime talk show in May, which had been number one in the ratings for a quarter century, to launch her brand on a 24-hour cable channel. When OWN launched on January 1, it carried Winfrey's name but not much of her face on its programs. That didn't capitalize on her star power.

It's time for Winfrey to act. Earlier this month, she named herself CEO of OWN. But media experts say she's not needed in the board room as much as on the TV screen.

Is Winfrey quickly becoming yesterday's news? Forbes magazine says Lady Gaga is now the number one face in media, bumping Winfrey to number two in its "Celebrity 100" list. The magazine says Lady Gaga got the top spot because of her social media prowess, a form of media that wasn't around when Winfrey was the fresh new face.

Winfrey's issues extend beyond television. Her O magazine is faced with an advertising sales drop of more than 31%. The Media Industry Newsletter says that compares with a 7% drop in ad sales for monthly magazines overall.

All the news isn't bad. For now, major national advertisers are staying with OWN despite its struggles. It's their hope that with Winfrey's daily talk show in the history books, she can spread her magic that got millions to watch her for an hour a day into loyal viewers who'll watch her cable channel for an entire day.

Stay connected through Facebook, Twitter and the free newsletter.

Timeline of New Developments:


August 14, 2011 at 7:54 am
(1) LondonCalling says:

Well she can’t blame the President for her failed ratings at this juncture-as she did blame him last year for poor ratings. If he does get re-elected maybe he will do a better job serving as a leader than follower of entertainment hype, becoming a sap to attention and droll of false kindness.
She spent hours on air laboriously framing or reprimanding men committing adultery, cheating husbands. Madonna gets front stage center at the final Oprah show and she, Tom Cruise and a few others let a girls school project in Malawi fail, poor girls ended up screwed- and Madonna’s friends squander millions for the poor on golf and auto’s. Oprah didnt even given her a slap on the wrist. And now she working on a new record.
Oprah is a self indulgent hypocrite to the finest degree.

August 20, 2011 at 12:41 pm
(2) sammi says:


September 20, 2011 at 2:24 am
(3) rich says:

Maybe a Rosie and Rachel show can help ratings. How is that for a team.

October 7, 2011 at 11:38 am
(4) Brad Greenway says:

It’s George Bush’s fault.

October 13, 2011 at 2:23 pm
(5) Guilia says:

Maybe we are just tried of Oprah. She needs to go away for a while.

October 25, 2011 at 12:01 pm
(6) MediaBlitz says:

Come now. It has nothing to do with politics or these other personal issues, as comments that spout that sort of red herring is usually short sighted. Simply, people tuned into Oprah and were hypnotized at her magic. The network just hadn’t managed to take the same magic that made Dr. Phil, and other spin offs into quality shows. She should’ve began as CEO.

October 31, 2011 at 9:28 pm
(7) S.A. says:

Oprah would have stayed more relevant by becoming a movie star maybe she still can and this might even peek public interest in her again. When she had that year long goodbye people really said their goodbye’s’. Oprah join your pal and make a great rags to riches story based on your life and stay away from Politics or religion, they cause too much division!

November 25, 2011 at 1:41 pm
(8) Bo Taylor says:

I’m so sick of Oprah and Dr.Phil and Dr.Oz and any other white men she has made wealthy. Get lost all of you.

December 3, 2011 at 3:03 am
(9) JoAnne says:

If Oprah endorses Obama again and pushes for his re-election like she did in 2008 – WATCH her poll numbers plummet even lower. She quit her daytime show because Ellen Degenerous was beating her in the ratings and Oprah’s ego could not take that. People haven’t forgotten and they don’t watch her on OWN either.

Oprah should know when you lie with dogs like Obama expect to get fleas and low ratings.

December 23, 2011 at 1:10 pm
(10) JD says:

I was a huge fan for many years during her talk show run. Very relevant topics, and her generosity was inspiring. She encouraged others to give and be selfless, with much success. I loved her for that. But the last year of the show, I couldn’t help feeling her ego emerging front and center, along with Dr. Phil and Dr. Oz and their ever inflating egos. I stopped watching all three, even though they had their their strengths. Later, I was given a free 30 day trial for OWN shortly after it launched. Re-runs of years old Dr.Phil, Gayle talking on a live radio show, and Oprah doing behind the scenes, life class, and whatever else–count me out. Lisa Ling was the best thing about the network. They’ll have to really ramp it up if they want my money. Sorry Oprah.

January 22, 2012 at 7:44 pm
(11) susan says:

Lets face it Oprah put Obama in the white house and since his presidency has been a collosal failure – – and since she can not accept this failure and on some level feels responsible she has not only put on weight but has lost the spark to make and produce a network that is worthy of peoples time- She should just call it a wrap!!

February 13, 2012 at 5:54 pm
(12) Johnnie Newkirk Jr says:

I will pray for all you haters and bigots.

February 14, 2012 at 9:55 am
(13) AM says:

Johnnie, you should be praying for the U.S.
because of the one man wrecking ball in
the white house and what he is doing to
destroy this country.

February 14, 2012 at 5:23 pm
(14) Common Sense says:

I believe the Internet makes people stupid. Case in point….this article discussing OWN’s less-than-stellar ratings….and people posting comments that this is somehow linked to Oprah’s support for Obama. Seriously, are you people nuts?

February 15, 2012 at 8:59 pm
(15) TJ says:

For all of you that’s hating on Obama…You can kick rocks! The Republicans don’t have 1 strong candidate that can or will beat him! =) Most of you still hate the fact that we have an African American in the White House! Also, He is doing an amazing job and on top of that he is the most poised, well rounded, free from scandal President that the U.S. has ever seen! =) God himself chose Obama! =)

March 7, 2012 at 9:49 pm
(16) Miguel says:

Like to see my Discovery channel back some day. Don’t get me wrong I love Oprah but I just think this isn’t her thing.

March 19, 2012 at 11:39 pm
(17) SHHH says:

@TJ Really come on seriously. “Most of you still hate the fact that we have an African American in the White House” That makes no sense. Why don’t you step on out of the 60′s. Obama was elected if most people cared about what race is he would not have been elected, so you really can’t say most now can you. There has been plenty of scandal regarding Obama just like there has been plenty about former presidents and there will be plenty about any future ones too. Life is not all about race. Please leave your fantasy hate land behind and step into the real world.

April 6, 2012 at 7:58 am
(18) download tv shows free says:

Excellent post. I used to be checking continuously this weblog and I’m impressed! Extremely helpful info specially the final section :) I take care of such information much. I used to be seeking this certain info for a long time. Thanks and good luck.

May 4, 2012 at 7:36 pm
(19) shawn says:

I started watching OWN once the initial re-runs ended. I stopped when it became a bore. Oprah shows things that interest her just as she did with her own show. Her talk show was also interesting until she took on what I consider to be a superior line of thinking. Oprah feels that she is the wisest person anywhere because things happen when she mentions her likes and dislikes.
Her audiance is not for the most part ultra wealthy and we don’t think we are above anyone.
I think her success went to her head. She changed the way she spoke and acted and she blew it. Maybe this will open her eyes to the fact that she is just a normal person capable of failure just like the rest of us.

June 9, 2012 at 6:19 am
(20) OC Diabetic Care says:

There’s definately a great deal to find out about this subject. I like all of the points you made.

Leave a Comment

Line and paragraph breaks are automatic. Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title="">, <b>, <i>, <strike>
Top Related Searches
  • cable tv ratings
  • oprah winfrey
    1. About.com
    2. Industry
    3. Media

    ©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.