Discovery's OWN cost to nearly double


NEW YORK -- Discovery Communications recently said it was running ahead of its $100 million launch cost target for the OWN network joint venture with Oprah Winfrey. Now it has put the new budget at $189 million.

In a regulatory filing Friday, it said it has entered into an amendment with Winfrey and her production firm Harpo Inc. that calls for the funding increase, which could come in form of a loan from Discovery itself or a third party. But it also calls for an increased on-air commitment from Winfrey.

The company didn't immediately unveil added Oprah shows on OWN, which has announced a reality show behind the scenes of the final year of her syndicated broadcast talk show and evening interview series "Oprah's Next Chapter." But a Discovery spokeswoman told THR that the language in the filing does indeed cover "other shows" Oprah may want to do. Specifics are expected at a later point.

Management first mentioned the need for an increased financial commitment from Discovery on its earnings conference call earlier this month.

The venture will also pursue distribution of OWN, set to start around the start of 2011, in the U.K. and Canada, according to Friday's SEC filing.
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