Oprah Winfrey's OWN sets launch date

Cable network will debut in about 80 mil homes

Oprah's new cable network has a launch date. OWN will debut in January 2011 -- eight months before Oprah Winfrey's syndicated talk show airs its final episode.

"Oprah has been nourishing people through her television show for nearly 25 years, a legacy that has touched millions the world over," said Christina Norman, CEO of OWN. "She is the life force behind OWN and will be guiding the effort for this completely new 24-hour television experience premiering in January 2011."

The announcement is the latest in a series of launch dates for OWN, which had a full-blown upfront presentation to advertisers in May. The network was originally expected to launch by the end of this year. Then it was pushed to 2010, and now 2011. The new launch date will be three years after the joint venture was originally formed.

OWN is a joint venture between Winfrey and Discovery Communications and will debut in about 80 million homes, rebranding what is currently the Discovery Health Channel

In a statement, Winfrey commented on the departure of her syndicated show: "I love this show," Winfrey said. "This show has been my life. And I love it enough to know when it's time to say good-bye. Twenty-five years feels right in my bones and it feels right in my spirit. It's the perfect number -- the exact right time. So I hope that you will take this 18-month ride with me right through to the final show. So, the countdown to the end of 'The Oprah Winfrey Show' starts now and until that day in 2011 when it ends, I intend to soak up every meaningful, joy-filled moment with you."

Oprah will announce the conclusion of her iconic talk show during Friday's taping.
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