Oprah’s OWN Network Ratings Continue to Suffer as Jenny McCarthy Backs Out

The Big O has now appointed herself CEO of OWN, and no sooner does she do this, that the network takes another blow.

Jenny McCarthy is taking her talk show to NBC.  BLAM!!

Jenny going to NBC is technically just a rumor at this point; NBC failed to comment.  Apparently Jenny made this decision months ago, when she stopped working with Harpo Studios to produce the project.

A source told Fox News:

‘Jenny finally decided to embrace Oprah’s philosophy, which is to “follow your bliss”. Well, Jenny followed her bliss and walked right off the project.’

She was not happy with where the producers were taking the show.

Smart move for Jenny but not so good for Oprah.  Not only has OWN suffered but Oprah’s website www.oprah.com has taken a massive hit as well as sales of the “O” magazine.  The website has lost half of it’s devoted readers since her last show in May.  Part of the websites appeal was the interaction with the daily shows, that are no longer airing.  Oprah had to give up her site to Discovery Communications as part of her deal to launch OWN.


Now all the money is on Rosie.  Rose O’Donnell’s show will start this fall.


OWN hasn’t even reached the numbers of the channel it replaced, “Discovery Health”.

Let’s take a look at some numbers from March 2011:

In 2010 Discovery Health for women ages 25-54 averaged 51,000 viewers.  During Prime time this number was 84,000.  OWN is right around the 50,000 average and 83,000 prime time.  These were the numbers back in March.  They have declined further since.

Other networks are eating OWN’s lunch, here’s a look at the average viewers back in March 2011:

Lifetime 404,000
Oxygen 137,000
Hallmark 94,000
OWN 83,0000

Oprah is starting to feel the heat as advertisers are starting to get antsy.   Big names like P&G have done unprecedented deals with Discovery and Oprah.  Procter & Gamble agreed to pay $100 million for the first 3 years, based strictly on the power of the Oprah Brand.


Oprah will take her O, into Overdrive and launch three Oprah based shows.  I think that should definitely help.

Oprah talked about her plans on Facebook:

‘At my core I’m a teacher, masquerading as a talk show host. And now I’ll have a nightly class on OWN,’

‘I’m taking The Oprah Show library of 4560 shows and redesigning them into the 100 best lessons I’ve learned about everything that can help you live a better life.’

Then in January she will continue with “Oprah Presents: Master Class” and “Oprah’s Next Chapter.”

These are not really new shows.  She had the master class before and Oprah’s Next Chapter sounds like a continuation of theSeason 25: Oprah Behind the Scenes” show, which is OWN’s only hit to date.

Programming is definitely where the network is ailing.  She needs more exciting, more real shows.  The reality-based shows currently in the line up are flat out boring.  Shania Twain, Ryan and Tatum O’Neal, The Judds, Sarah Ferguson….. They can’t touch The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.  I still say she should have purchased “All My Children” and “One life to Live”.  Those shows are low in production costs and come with built in audiences without her doing any of the work.  Those audiences will carry over from ABC and advertisers can feast on that demographic.  Then you can promote all of the upcoming OWN programming daily, for free, to your prime viewers.

With advertisers getting anxious, and big names pulling out, Oprah is under fire. If she can channel the Oprah from 10 years ago, when everything wasn’t a guarantee, and she had to hustle hard to maintain her number 1 ranking,  then she should be able to pull this off. Although she has grown lazy in the last 5 years, you don’t become Oprah Winfrey by not being able to get the job done.  I still think P&G made a good bet.  Oprah will pull this off.  Let’s see if I’m right.