As the final day of the Cable Show gets underway, special guest Oprah Winfrey joined Paula Zahn for a discussion of what it is to be a brand and starting her own television network – the Oprah Winfrey Network.
Oprah says they understand the pulse of her audience, and focuses on nourishing that relationship with her viewers. She said the Oprah show came out of the truth of who she is, and that is the reason for its success.
With this network, Oprah says she is not interested in throwing shows against a wall, but wants to create shows that open a “heartspace” with the viewer, such that when you leave them you feel better.
Having set a self-imposed three-year deadline to make her network successful, she says that a network is harder to do because she knows what she can do, but finds it hard to judge what other shows can do. The secret she says, is finding your flow so you are not pushing against it.
Finding a show that resonates and serves the audience is her goal, and she says if she can do that the people will come. The audience, she says, have sent her emails telling her they are looking for a sense of empowerment. That is what she is striving for.
Asked who is on her wish list – who she would like to put on the air – she says that her new show, Oprah’s Next Chapter, will be like the magazine. The magazine, she said, includes only interviews with people that she finds interesting. She would like to interview Susan Smith not only because she murdered her children, but because of the racial tensions her lie created. She would also like to interview O.J. Simpson because she has a dream that he will confess to her.
She says the fact that a young girl from a shotgun house in Mississippi can end up creating the OWN network makes that dream possible.
Michael Turk is a Partner in CRAFT | Media / Digital, a full-spectrum communications agency. Learn more about CRAFT at www.craftdc.com.