Oprah has had a golden touch. Across the world her 25 year syndicated television show averaged as many as a stunning 12.5 million viewers a day.
But on May 25th, 2011, Oprah ended that show to build her television network, OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network), in a joint venture with the Discovery Network, for she saw this as an opportunity of a lifetime.
But Oprah launched OWN in January, 2011, nearly six months before her show ended. As a result, she was at first unable to focus on OWN and it has so far lost $312 million of Discovery's money with seemingly nothing to show for it.
However, looks can be deceiving.
After acknowledging she should not have launched OWN until she had completed her 25 year show, Oprah is now focused on creating such shows as "Oprah's Next Chapter," "Super Soul Sunday," and other shows she believes will build a substantial audience.
And she has been meeting with advertisers to assure them she is determined to make OWN a ratings and revenue winner.
Already there is good news on the horizon. In 2013, satellite and cable operators will begin paying many millions of dollars in broadcast fees to carry OWN. If ratings grow, so will the advertising and broadcast fees.
Oprah reportedly made $275 million a year from her former talk show, but she walked away from it in order to create OWN with the intent of offering a network of primarily inspiring and self-help programming.
Some broadcast investors and critics are skeptical that OWN will succeed but I believe in some form it will succeed. Why?
Because Oprah has a strong sense for her audience, has an excellent production team, and she has a great deal of personal talent, knowledge and empathy.
And she has always overcome incredible odds since being born into poverty in deeply segregated Mississippi in 1954 to be where she is today.
Now, when times seem their darkest, and the skeptics abound, it is her opportunity to rise to the occasion, to make a greater difference than she ever has before.