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Glenn Halbrooks

Oprah Winfrey Network Gets Support from Cable TV Partner

By February 18, 2013

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Oprah Winfrey is getting an important show of support for her Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) cable TV channel. The head of Discovery Communications, which is her partner in the project, says OWN's performance is ahead of expectations.

A photo of Oprah Winfrey Network CEO Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Winfrey is hoping for a breakthrough year with her Oprah Winfrey Network cable TV channel.
Photo © Getty Images
That's good news for Winfrey, because OWN has a long list of ups and downs. Some critics, who expect everything Winfrey touches to turn into immediate and effortless success, have been particularly harsh about her struggles.

Discovery CEO David Zaslav has noted that OWN increased its audience in every month of 2012, and was up by more than one-third in viewership overall. In addition, a drama and a comedy from Tyler Perry are scheduled to launch later this year. You can expect a lot of Hollywood buzz over their premieres.

While Discovery believes OWN's cash flow will break even this year, all isn't rosy financially. Discovery's net income plunged 33% for the most recent quarter. That can't be blamed on Winfrey, but on other aspects of the company's business.

Even though Winfrey isn't finding instant success with OWN, she's still one of the top 10 media people to watch in 2013. The next development to monitor is whether the Tyler Perry-produced series can create a long-term audience after the initial buzz.

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