Oprah Winfrey Says OWN Can Reach Its 'Summit' in 2014

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She tells advertisers at an upfront event that her joint venture network with Discovery Communications is "the climb of my life," but she now feels like she can at least see the peak.

NEW YORK - Oprah Winfrey made a brief appearance here at Discovery Communications' upfront event for advertisers at midtown Manhattan's Jazz at Lincoln Center, reiterating that joint venture network OWN is on the right path after its early struggles.

"Thank you for your support and for staying with us during what I call the climb of my life," she told the Madison Avenue crowd in a pun on the song Time of My Life.

She also quipped that friends like OWN co-president Sheri Salata have always talked about climbing Kilimanjaro. "I just said to Sheri recently: I am climbing Kilimanjaro," she said to laughs. "And it's all on Wilshire Boulevard at the OWN offices."

She acknowledged that when she first arrived at OWN full-time in July, "I felt I was not even at base camp and could only see my feet." But with more work and a recent "right-sizing" of OWN staff, she said: "I feel like I can at least now see the summit. Nowhere near the summit, but I can see the summit. But still in the climb."

In closing she thanked advertisers and predicted the best was to come for OWN in a couple of years: "And I thank you so much for being with us and helping me stay strong as we reach the summit 2014," Winfrey said.

She had earlier also shared with the ad crowd that one of her favorite spiritual mentors was 13th century German mystic Meister Eckhart who had said that "if the only prayer you ever say in your whole life is thank you, that will be enough."

Winfrey came on stage towards the end of OWN's presentation during the Discovery upfront after a video about Six Little McGhees, one of four new OWN shows that is about a couple with six toddlers. After the video, the couple and four kids came onto the stage, asking where the two others may be. Winfrey and another person then came out carrying one toddler each.

"It's a show that I don't want to participate in, but I will be so happy to watch it," Winfrey said about the series

Winfrey had earlier in the OWN presentation appeared in a video with Jimmy Kimmel who suggested her famous book club should get a new twist. The video then cut to a man challenging Oprah about whether she had read a book, which led the talk star to fight with him and yell. The Kimmel-suggested show title: "Book Club. Fight Club."

OWN co-president Erik Logan quipped following the video that it looked like "another board meeting at OWN."

Logan and Salata kicked off the OWN portion of the upfront event with a video that repeatedly used the tag line "This is momentum." It highlighted "more Oprah" in prime time and double-digit audience growth for the network since September.

"Momentum is building at OWN if you haven't noticed already," Logan said. In the first quarter, the channel was up 25 percent in its target demo, he added.

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com

Twitter: @georgszalai

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