Oprah’s new venture

Danielle Fox ('13)/ Eastside Entertainment Editor and Danielle Fox ('13)/ Eastside Entertainment Editor

For the past 25 years, Oprah Winfrey has charmed America with her sensational, daily talk show, The Oprah Winfrey Show, and though her show will end September 9, 2011, America should buckle their seat belts because Oprah Winfrey is not going anywhere. Perhaps the New York Daily News said it best, when they declared that the queen of daytime is about to become a night owl.

Beginning January 1, 2011, OWN (the Oprah Winfrey Network), a joint venture between Winfrey’s Harp Inc. and Discovery Communications, is scheduled to premiere, featuring 24 hour programming; it will replace the Discovery Health channel.

“Fifteen years ago, I wrote in my journal that one day I would create a television network, as I always felt my show was just the beginning of what the future could hold. For me, the launch of OWN is the evolution of the work I’ve been doing on television all these years and a natural extension of my show,” said Winfrey.

For all of the, The Oprah Winfrey Show enthusiasts, no worries, alongside her new Network, Winfrey will host a new hour-long primetime show, Oprah’s Next Chapter, which will debut on OWN.  The series will feature interviews with Hollywood’s finest and other celebrities across the globe in eccentric places, such as the Taj Mahal, the Great Wall and Winfrey’s own teahouse; in other words, anywhere but inside a normal studio. According to the New York Daily News, the show is expected to go head-to-head with some of television’s biggest hits, including American Idol and The Biggest Loser.

But, Winfrey will not be the only star of her network; in fact, any charismatic, American citizen has the opportunity to shine on her OWN channel. Winfrey plans to give an “undiscovered talent” a chance to have his or her own reality show on the network. She’s teaming up with reality TV producer, Mark Burnett, one of the men behind the shows of Survivor and The Apprentice, to create Your Own Show: Oprah’s Next Search for the Next TV Star. Burnett said, “The landscape and acceptance of ordinary people on television is widely accepted… Much in the way ‘American Idol’ finds unknown people [to be recording stars] there’s no reason we can’t find someone who deserves their own show.”

Aspiring show hosts can upload videos to Oprah.com under categories, such as traditional talk show, cooking, health and wellness, and interior design, while viewers can watch and vote on submitted videos. But, open castings are also being held in various cities across the country where people can go to pitch their own ideas. For instance, Sheletta Brundidge, a talk radio personality and blogger in St. Paul Minnesota, plans to pitch a show about marriage mentors. She said, “People have professional mentors to guide them through their careers, so why not have marriage mentors to help young couples who are struggling with their new lives?”

Burnett and Winfrey have agreed that anyone has the opportunity to be cast on the show, but they are looking for someone who can light up the TV. Burnett said, “[We want to] find people with the greatest energy source… you’ll be hard-pressed to show me someone who has their own show on TV who’s not energetic and who has charisma.”

In addition to Oprah’s Next Chapter and Your Own Show, Visionaries: Inside the Creative Mind and Why Not? will also debut on OWN. Visionaries: Inside the Creative Mind is a one-hour weekly series that examines many of entertainment’s renowned icons, including director James Cameron and Lady Gaga, and Why Not? is a reality series about Shania Twain, a country singer star, and how she is dealing with and moving forward from her rather publicized divorce.

All in all, Winfrey’s future plans not only seem promising, but motivating for the average citizen as well. She said, “My vision for OWN is to create a network that inspires our viewers and makes them want to be who they are on their best day.”

According to Alexander Graham Bell, when one door closes another one opens. Her talk show may have an official termination date, but Winfrey still has bags full of inspiration, adventure and joy for one and all. So, America, get ready, because the journey has only just begun.