Oprah Calls OWN ‘the Climb of My Life’

Oprah Winfrey thanks advertisers for sticking by her

OWN CEO Oprah Winfrey told advertisers Thursday that starting the network has been "the climb of my life" and thanked them for sticking with her in the network's trying early days. 

Winfrey joked that her friends often talked about climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro and that she feels she is climbing it herself now.

"I feel that I can at least now see the summit," she said. "Nowhere near the summit, but I can see the summit."

Winfrey spoke at Discovery's upfront presentation to advertisers in New York where it introduced the new shows on all of its networks.

Her remarks came after a trying first year for OWN which has often scored lower ratings than Discovery Health, the network it replaced.

Winfrey recently announced layoffs and a report by the investment research firm SNL Kagan estimated that OWN could lose $143 million this year if ratings do not improve.

Discovery said that OWN's ratings were up in the first part of this year. Winfrey's "summit" comments were meant as a signal to advertisers that the worst was over. 

In an appearance earlier this week on "CBS This Morning," Winfrey told best friend Gayle King that she "never expected it to be so difficult to start a network. "