Oprah Winfrey will launch a new television network with Discovery Communications that will be a “natural extension” of her show, her company said Tuesday.
“The Oprah Winfrey Network” will be a multi-platform media venture “designed to entertain, inform and inspire people to live their best lives,” according to a joint statement with Discovery, which owns the Discovery Network and Animal Planet, among others.
The new channel will debut in 2009 in more than 70 million homes, on what is currently the Discovery Health Channel.
The announcement builds a media empire that already includes the top-rated TV talk show, a magazine, a satellite radio network, a Web site and TV movies made under her banner.
“Fifteen years ago, I wrote in my journal that one day I would create a television network, as I always felt my show was just the beginning of what the future could hold,” said Winfrey, who is among the top-earning US celebrities and ranked second to US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in a recent US poll on most admired women.
“For me, the launch of ‘The Oprah Winfrey Network’ is the evolution of the work I’ve been doing on television all these years and a natural extension of my show,” she said.
She will be chairwoman of the network, owned 50-50 by Discovery and her company, Harpo Productions. In return for taking over a network already operated by Discovery, Winfrey gives up half ownership of the Oprah.com Web site.