Oprah Winfrey is ready for primetime: The queen of talk will launch a multi-night interview show on OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network.
Winfrey revealed the new program, and other specifics of her on-air involvement with OWN, in an interview with The Wall Street Journal posted online Wednesday night.
In addition to the new interview program, Winfrey is mulling appearing in a show tied to her book club.
And in news sure to strike terror into the hearts of Ellen DeGeneres and Rosie O’Donnell, the Journal also revealed that reality guru Mark Burnett will produce a reality show for OWN designed to find a new talk show host — sort of a "Who Wants to Be the New Oprah?" You can bet Winfrey will be involved in that project as well.
"My name’s going to show up on that grid a lot," Winfrey told the Journal, referring to the OWN schedule grid.
Winfrey’s new chat show will air two to three times per week, with Winfrey leaving behind the confines of a studio to interview celebs and other powerful folks in far flung locales around the globe. Its title (for now): "Oprah’s Next Chapter."
"I’m going to take viewers with me, going to take celebrities I want to interview with me," Winfrey told the Journal. The series is expected to premiere at the end of 2011, a few months after "The Oprah Winfrey Show" wraps up in September 2011, and nearly a year after OWN launches on January 1.
For the first time, Winfrey also offered up something close to a mea culpa for the numerous staff and directional changes that have plagued OWN since it was first announced.
"It has been more difficult building a team from scratch than I realized it would be," Winfrey admitted in the interview.
The host/mogul also did everything she could to halt talk that she wouldn’t be actively involved in OWN either on- or off-camera.
"I am hands on, digging in there, looking through every tape," Winfrey said to the paper. "I’m not just up to my knees. I’m up to my thighs."
The Journal, whose interview with Winfrey is being published on the same day as OWN unveils its programming slate to advertisers as part of the Discovery Networks upfront, said Discovery is trying to line up multiyear deals with advertisers that would bend traditional advertising spots and product integration.
Anyone who watched Wednesday’s "Oprah" saw how such a plan works: Dove was mentioned multiple times during a show about "Glee," with the brand at one point being credited with giving a Burbank, Calif. high school show choir a check for $100,000. In exchange, Winfrey mentioned Dove multiple times during the hour, touting it as a brand that wants to help people find their inner "Glee."
OWN has been working hard to put together a similar multiplatform ad/integration package with Procter & Gamble that could be worth up to $20 million, the Journal said.