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Oprah's OWN Network Plummets in Ratings Two Weeks After Launch

Oprah Winfrey
Michael Tran/FilmMagic/Getty Images

Winfrey flagship shows are the best performers, while Dr. Phil reruns outdraw Gayle King’s morning show.

NEW YORK – After a strong opening at the beginning of the year, ratings for OWN, the cable network joint venture of Oprah Winfrey and Discovery Communications, have declined, with shows with Winfrey’s name in the title remaining its strongest performers.

For its second week, ratings for OWN fell about 20 percent among its target demo of women over 25 years old, according to the New York Post. The average audience in prime time was 310,000 people.

Looking at total viewership, the network’s highest-rated shows are top-rated Season 25: Oprah Behind the Scenes, as well as Your OWN Show: Oprah's Search for the Next TV Star and Ask Oprah's All Stars, it said.

Discovery and Winfrey have predicted bumps in the road, and most experts expected ratings to come down from a strong start.

OWN viewership so far is "a little lower than I'd thought it would be, but I don't think it's alarming," advertising expert Brad Adgate of Horizon Media told the Post. He pointed to network and cable series premieres this month, which are likely to affect OWN's performance.

Oprah Behind the Scenes saw more than 1.1 million viewers tuning into the first two episodes on New Year's Day, but by last week’s episode, the show’s viewers were cut in half to 557,000, according to the Post.

Gayle King's daily morning show, a simulcast of her satellite radio show that launched last week, is off to a slow start, with viewership dropping from 154,000 on its first day to 86,000 on day five, according to the Post.
Reruns of Dr. Phil are doing better, averaging 250,000 viewers, the paper said.