Home Television Oprah Will Not Save the Soaps: Video Message

Oprah Winfrey has one life to live and it’s her own. She is not going to move ABC’s canceled soaps to her OWN Network. She released a video to YouTube (see it below on our video player), which was quite extraordinary, explaining her position.

With a little editing, here’s what Oprah says on camera: “I would like to say thank you to everybody who has been responding, bombarding our message boards really with your requests for me or OWN to take on the soaps. I understand what’s it like…to have a show you love off the air…I felt the same when Mary Tyler Moore went off the air, I must say…I appreciate that you all think I could save the soaps.

But here is the bone marrow truth. The soaps have been an institution in broadcast history and television because they had the support of the audience…There are just not enough people at home in the daytime to watch them.

Believe me, if there was a dime left to be made from them on broadcast television it would still be happening. And so because all good things come to an end, and all good things have their time, as do the soaps, as does The Oprah Winfrey Show, I will not be taking on the responsibility of trying to revive an institution that for all intent and all purpose indicates that time has come for it to be over. So thank you for believing I could save them. But I really can’t.”

My opinion, not that Oprah asked? I watched a big block of OWN recently. It is quite dreadful. It’s all reality and fake documentary and makeover crap. It’s well below the standard set by her own show.  I don’t know if adopting the ABC soaps is the answer, but if OWN is going to survive, it’s going to need some kind of high quality scripted programming. Otherwise, it’s just competing with cable’s wasteland of 500 vapid channels. She could worse than bring on half hour versions of the current ABC shows.

Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. He wrote the Intelligencer column for NY Magazine in the mid 90s, reporting on the OJ Simpson trial, as well as for the real Parade magazine (when it was owned by Conde Nast), and has written for the New York Observer, Details, Vogue, Spin, the New York Times, NY Post, Washington Post, and NY Daily News among many publications. He is the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.
1 reply to this post
  1. It is unfortunate that Oprah, like ABC, views all of the fans of daytime to be not lucrative.. She found her show lucrative enough, on daytime, to stay for 25 years. Maybe her network will become a dry hole, and I for one won’t put a drop in it. ABC has now become a waste land, I mean totally, with hardly anything worth watching, and so I have joined the ABC boycott. And I have called, e mailed and added my comments on all shout out boards. When ABC and OWN circle the drain, it will be with some satisfaction to the fans that we helped it happen.

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