Oprah to Create Her ‘OWN’ HD Channel

Oprah Winfrey, arguably one of the world’s wealthiest and most popular people, announced this week her production company will join forces with Discovery Communications to create a new healthy lifestyle channel that will simulcast in HD, to be known as OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network).

According to the Oprah Web site, the new “multi-platform media venture will be designed to entertain, inform and inspire people to live their best lives.” (One of those platforms will be the heavily-trafficked Oprah.com.)

Although several details are still sketchy, Winfrey said OWN is expected to debut sometime next year and some of its programming will serve as a “natural extension” of her daily TV talk show and still-growing media empire—which has included book endorsements that become overnight bestsellers, third-world educational and cultural projects, health fairs and publications, and other media ventures.

OWN will step into the footprint of the current Discovery Health Channel, which technically passes more than 68 million households, but which never achieved the popularity of Discovery Communications’ other TV ventures, most notably the Discovery Channel (and Discovery Channel HD). It is not yet known whether the SD and HD feeds of the new channel will be launched at the same time.

In a deal that did not involve financial transactions of any kind, Winfrey will be designated chairman of “The Oprah Winfrey Network LLC.” OWN will be equally co-owned by Discovery Communications and Winfrey’s Harpo Productions.