Oprah Winfrey is now admitting that she was once afraid her OWN network would never live up to the success of her daytime TV show.
“All the bells went off. This is why I lived in fear about this network. I kept thinking I have to repeat the 25-year phenomenon of the ‘Oprah’ show. I don’t want to be Michael Jackson,” she tells Fortune magazine, referring to the pop singer once saying he’d never be able to top 1983′s “Thriller.”
“My fear about, ‘Will the people really follow me?’– I’m past that,” Winfrey says.
Still, getting the network, which is due to launch early next year, off the ground was a challenge.
Winfrey admits she was indecisive about the show lineup, causing backer Discovery Communications to invest an extra $89 million on top of its $100 million launch money, as previously reported. OWN CEO Christina Norman, who joined the network after leaving MTV as chief, was unable to greenlight any series without Winfrey’s input.
“This is part of the reason OWN was stagnant,” Winfrey says. “I was the holdup.”