First, I have to say that I’m tremendously proud of Oprah Winfrey for having the courage to start her own network because she could have just went off the scene and basked in her great success. I do like the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) but I would like to see some significant improvements with the programming on the network. Although Gayle King is a member of this network, I want to see more of a Black presence on the network. As an African-American woman with over $2 billion, Oprah Winfrey has the opportunity to bring a greater Black presence into the homes of members of the dominant culture and non-members of the dominant culture. Right now, however, she has not capitalized on an opportunity to do this. Oprah also needs to make it much more affordable for more people, especially low-income people, to be able to purchase OWN.
Right now, the network looks too much like the Style and Food Network channels. I would expect Oprah to be much more creative than appearing nothing more than a mere copy or extension of the Style and Food Network channels. I understand that food and the type of programming on the Style channel are top interests of Oprah, but I would have expected her to give us more of the creativity that has made her other ventures such a success.
I’m a big fan of Oprah and not one of these people who just likes to negatively criticize people for no reason at all. This piece simply reflects my honest early reaction to OWN. No matter what Oprah does with OWN, I’m going to continue to love her and support her. I just want her to make significant improvements to her network. I know that her network is in its infancy and this is why I’m going to continue to follow her network to see how it evolves.
I very much encourage you to check out Oprah’s new network. For those who have had an opportunity to watch OWN, I’m interested in your early thoughts about it.
Antonio Maurice Daniels
University of Wisconsin-Madison