WHY OPRAH’S OWN SEES RATINGS DIVE IN WEEK #2
When Oprah Winfrey first announced the creation of OWN, she revealed she had once written in her 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.”
Well, three years and $168 million later, we have now seen the future, and it is — extremely disappointing. Not just in the number of viewers who pulled the escape hatch after the first few days, but why they are bailing.
Who wants to watch more recycling than you’ll find at a plastic bottle processing center.
I’m not certain how this has happened given the OWN brain trust with Oprah as chairman, the amazing Tom Freston as top advisor, and the awesome Christina Norman, the CEO. The bottom line: OWN is a stodgy old bore.
Even worse, while they were forgetting Oprah’s own recipe for success, a quiet little Columbus Dispatch newspaper reporter went instantly viral with his story of Ted Williams, the homeless man with the golden voice.
Talk about dream fulfillment. Today Oprah told Entertainment Tonight she was thinking of ways to fold Ted Williams into OWN. Really? Doesn’t he have enough benefactors on his bandwagon. Instead, why not hire that unsung Columbus Dispatch reporter and give him a show to find the other jewels of humanity who are still living on the street or in makeshift tents?
Thursday, Oprah met with members of the TV Critics Association where some suggested she had actually staged a filibuster to avoid addressing real issues of OWN. Here are some of the questions tv critics didn’t have an opportunity to ask:
Did it really take $100 million dollars and two-and-a-half years to come up with a morning show hosted by your best friend, Gayle and an afternoon show with Rosie — one in which you will also be a part-owner.
Does OWN also stand for the richest woman in the history of television owning a piece of everyone else’s shows as well? Do you think that might be a deterrent to fresher talent who might find that exploitive?
Why do we feel like we’re moving back in time, instead of forward, into the next chapter with you. Could it be the 1978 graphics and set?
And master class? While we share your deep admiration for Maya Angelou, Jay-Z and Diane Sawyer, if they tell us again what makes them so special and curious! we will scream. Can you please tell us something new?
Why not listen to what the critics have to say? Sure, just like at the White House briefings, some reporters will always posture. But most are there because they love their beat and care deeply when certain decisions have unintended consequences.
They are also the folks who know what the collapse of OWN viewership in week 2 might really signal. While OWN’s premiere averaged 1 million primetime viewers last weekend, Sunday dropped to 822,000. Monday fell to 394,000, followed by Tuesday hitting 315,000. Wednesday was up a bit.
In the network’s target of women 25-54, the only true predictor of the future revenue stream, OWN went from an opening night rating of 0.6 to a 0.2 at the start of the week, not a stellar start. Again, it is early days, but given the lead time, financial backing and brain power, higher launch expectations were not unreasonable.
“FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, YOU’VE GOT YOUR OWN NETWORK. LET US ASK A QUESTION!”
Thanks to Christine Becker, Associate Professor of Film, Television, and Theatre at University of Notre Dame, here are some of the TV critics more notable tweets, or tveets as she calls them.
Even factoring in what a cynical bunch they are, the tweets between the critics who couldn’t get a word in edgewise, tell quite a tale.