Oprah Winfrey: Why 'I Had a Lot of Anxiety' About Launching a Cable Network
The talk-show queen, whose OWN debuts Saturday, says she was questioning her decision even after making the deal with Discovery Communications.
Even Oprah Winfrey has moments of self-doubt.
The talk-show queen is set to debut her new cable channel, OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network, on Saturday. It's been two years in the making, and during that time, Winfrey has questioned her decision to sign on for such a massive undertaking.
"First it was, 'Wowee, omigosh, a network!' And then it was, 'What in the world have I done?' and, 'Can I really do this?' " she told Parade magazine. "So I had a lot of anxiety about it."
Even after the deal was done, Winfrey was daydreaming about just building a boat and sailing around the world or moving to France. But she said her friends encouraged her to stick with the channel, telling her, "You're not going to be happy doing nothing."
Winfrey admits that the network is a "gamble," saying she'll declare it a failure if no one watches, while others might declare if a failure if some of the shows don't pull in viewers.
As for the programming that will air on OWN, a joint venture with Discovery Communications that will replace the Discovery Health Channel, Winfrey called it "mindful television."
"I think so much of television is a minefield that just zaps your energy, wastes your time," she said. "What I want to do is build a channel that is a respite for your mind, an oasis of stimulation, that you come away from with little pieces of light. I’m aiming for a moment where somebody could say, 'I never thought of it that way before.' I just love that."
Winfrey isn't a big fan of most television programming, she emphasized.
"I think that television programmers program to the lowest common denominator," she said.
Which shows might she be referring to?
"I happened to be on the treadmill one night and passed one of [Bravo's Real] Housewives shows -- I don’t know which city -- and literally my mouth was open ’cause I thought, 'This is on television?'" she said. "I recognize that there’s a whole group of people who find that very entertaining. I wonder for how long. I think that there are people who want to be fed just a little more."