Winfrey admits in a “CBS This Morning” interview that she underestimated how tough it would be to launch OWN
"Had I known that it was this difficult, I might have done something else," Oprah Winfrey said of OWN on Monday's "CBS This Morning," admitting that she underestimated how hard it would be to launch her own cable network.
"The idea of creating a network was something that I wanted to do … I didn't think it was going to be easy … if I knew then what I know now, I might have made different choices," Winfrey said.
Winfrey's interview — conducted by Charlie Rose Gayle King, Winfrey's best friend and "CBS This Morning" co-anchor — follows a spate of bad news for OWN. Winfrey recently announced 30 layoffs and the cancellation of Rosie O'Donnell's OWN talk show, and the research firm SNL Kagan estimated the network could lose $142.9 million this year if its ratings don't improve.
The TV icon said she should have waited to launch OWN, as she said her friend, "Saturday Night Live" executive producer Lorne Michaels, urged her to do.
"I would have probably waited until I actually finished 'The Oprah Show,' because from the day that (Discovery Communications boss) David Zaslav came in to see me, I said to him, 'The thing that I'm most worried about is who's going to lead this train, because I can't do it,'" Winfrey said.
She also said Michaels warned her, "'Nobody wants to see you come off 'The Oprah Winfrey Show,' of all those 25 years of success, and step right into the network business. You've got to pay your dues.'"
As for her strategy going forward with OWN — which she says is "not a failure" — Winfrey said the network will "do what we should have done from the beginning … build one show, one hour, one night at a time, and then move to the next night."