She may be on her OWN soon, but Oprah Winfrey's world is about to get a lot bigger.
Launching her 24/7 OWN: the Oprah Winfrey Network in a 50/50 partnership between her Harpo Productions and Discovery Communications on January 1, the Winfrey-"curated" (as CEO Christina Norman told CNN) channel will debut in 80 million U.S. homes via cable and satellite, where it's replacing the Discovery Health Channel.
Initial bumps in development caused Discovery to increase funding to $189 million and Winfrey to increase her on-air appearances, including starring in Oprah's Next Chapter.
Norman tells Mediapost the network will "fulfill our mission to be entertaining and inspiring." The just-announced programming line-up includes Season 25: Oprah Behind the Scenes; Ask Oprah's All-Stars, with Suze Orman, Dr. Phil and Dr. Oz; The Gayle King Show, featuring Winfrey's best friend; Your OWN Show: Oprah's Search For The Next TV Star; and In the Bedroom With Dr. Laura Berman.
Three original series in year one include The Judds, in which the country Grammy-winning, mother-daughter music stars Naomi and Wynonna Judd prepare for their first concert tour together in a decade; Ryan and Tatum: The O'Neals, follows a reconciliation between the acting father/daughter duo following a quarter-century of estrangement; and Carson-Nation will bring former Queer Eye fashion expert Carson Kressley to small town America to improve the personal landscape one person at a time.
Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, is still slated to appear in a six-part docu-series called Finding Sarah. And Rosie O'Donnell will return to daytime TV with a new talk show.
The network debuts at noon on 1/1/2011 with sneak peeks of OWN shows including Enough Already With Peter Walsh, Kidnapped By The Kids, Miracle Detectives, Searching For... and Oprah Presents Master Class.
"During our launch weekend, the audience will see a little of everything OWN has to offer," Norman tells Broadcasting & Cable, "and sneak peeks at the kinds of shows we believe really fulfill our mission to be entertaining and inspiring."
New year, new network, a new Oprah — the move will be as invigorating for Oprah's personal brand as it will be for her legions of fans.