OWN CEO Christina Norman tells TheWrap that for all the bumps getting Oprah Winfrey's network on the air, "launching when we were ready was always the intention." That day is almost here. Here's a look back at the ambitious dream, delays, and clever pivots behind OWN's debut this Saturday.
May 14, 1992: This was the day Winfrey first wrote in her journal about starting her own network — and even though of the name, she told O. She and longtime companion Stedman Graham had been bemoaning "the state of trash TV," she said, when he suggested creating her own network. "And I was like, 'Well, how is that possible?' Because it seemed impossible at the time. But as I sat with the idea—own your own network—I thought of the letters OWN, standing for the Oprah Winfrey Network. And I'm always looking for signs, signals, and so I wrote that down in my journal that night, May 14, 1992."
2000: Winfrey helps launch Oxygen, but later resigns from the board of directors. "The channel did not reflect my voice," she told the Baltimore Sun in 2008. She also compared OWN to Oxygen: "I was only an investor in Oxygen. Here I'm chairman and owner. This is my vision."
January 15, 2008: Winfrey and Discovery Communications announce that their new network will launch sometime after June 2009, a target eventually pushed back to the end of the year, and then later. Plans call for it to air in 70 million homes — a number that will grow to 85 million.
April 20, 2009: OWN President Robin Schwartz resigns after 10 months on the job. No replacement is named, and CEO Christina Norman is left in charge of development and programming.
Nov. 19, 2009: Winfrey announces that the final episode of her daytime talk show, "The Oprah Winfrey Show," will be in September 2011. The next day, she announces that OWN's delayed launch date has been moved to January, 2011, where it remains.
April 7, 2010: Winfrey tells The Wall Street Journal that she will be deeply involved in OWN, both behind the scenes and on-air, including by hosting a nighttime show.
Dec. 28, 2010: A deal with Cablevision brings OWN to an additional 3.5 million homes, bringing the total to 85 million just days before the network's launch.