Talk show host Oprah Winfrey is once again breaking barriers.
The talk show queen announced Tuesday that she and Discovery Communications Inc. will be partnering to start a cable channel called OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network.
The channel will debut in mid-2009, replacing the Discovery Health Channel.
Winfrey told news media outlets Tuesday that she wrote in her diary 15 years ago that her goal was to one day own her own television network, named OWN. She said the name means more than just “The Oprah Winfrey Network.”
“It’s about owning yourself, owning your possibilities and owning your future,” she said. “When I wrote that down in my journal on May 24, 1992, I said to myself: “Look at that. Isn’t it great how the name worked out that way? And this announcement today fulfills my vision.”
Winfrey said she is considering whether to end “The Orphan Winfrey Show” in 2010 after 22 years in television. “The Oprah Winfrey Show is scheduled to air until May 2011, but Winfrey said she may end the show a year early to concentrate on the cable channel. She said she would decide in September whether to end the popular daytime talk show.
The Oprah Winfrey show draws more than 6 million viewers a day.
Winfrey will be the chairwoman and president of OWN, which will be a 50-50 partnership between Discovery Communications Inc. and Winfrey’s Harpo Productions, Inc.
“It’s a perfect fit for Discovery because our core values are knowledge and curiosity,” said Disney Chief Executive David Zaslav, who traveled to Chicago to convince Winfrey that he and the talk show queen should team up to launch the cable channel.
Winfrey was also an original investor in Oxygen, which NBC Universal acquired last year for $925 million.
Zaslav said that when OWN is launched, it will reach 70 million homes.