NEW YORK (Reuters) - Oprah Winfrey’s new cable network will feature the media queen in a big way, but fans should not expect her to reprise the talk show that made her famous over the past 25 years, said the CEO of Discovery Communications Inc.
Winfrey will end her reigning daytime broadcast TV talk show in September 2011, and focus on her new Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN), which is 50 percent owned by Discovery.
“That’s chapter one. That chapter is ending,” Discovery Chief Executive David Zaslav said at the Reuters Global Media Summit in New York on Wednesday. “She will not be doing that show.”
Zaslav said Winfrey is already spending significant time on the network and is involved in “all the creative decisions.”
He said OWN will feature her in many ways following its launch in 2011, though he did not say what those would be. Initially, the network will be available in at least 80 million homes.
“She’ll be on in a meaningful way, with different types of shows, with different types of voices, with a lot of different creativity, but all of it will be different from her show and it will be what she wants to do,” he said.
Discovery stands to be perhaps the biggest beneficiary of Winfrey’s announcement last month that she plans to pull the plug on her popular TV show.
Walt Disney Co’s ABC, which currently carries her show, has not decided how to replace her.
“It’s a big win for the cable industry and for us that Oprah will, after September 2011, be available primarily on OWN,” Zaslav said. “OWN will really feel the strength of her creativity and presence.”
Discovery Communications already owns some of the most popular networks on cable TV, including the flagship Discovery Channel, with hits like “MythBusters” and “Shark Week.” In all, Discovery runs over 100 networks in 170 countries.
Reporting by Robert MacMillan and Paul Thomasch, editing by Leslie Gevirtz and Bob Tourtellotte