Some Oprah Winfrey fans are suddenly realizing the big difference between Oprah’s new home on cable and her old one on broadcast TV: To see her on cable, you have to pay for it.
And they’re voicing their complaints on message boards on Oprah’s OWN Web site. “Unfortunately I do not have the privilege of having the OWN network. This is truly unfair as I have been an avid fan from the beginning,” says an Oprah fan.
Wrote another: “The OWN network is on a premium cable channel in our area. I, for one, am disappointed to be missing your new network.”
“Oprah has lost me as I am sure many other people,” one viewer stated. “Too bad that she didn’t look into a channel that would serve everyone.”
To be fair, the vast majority of the comments left on the message boards since the launch of OWN last Saturday have been favorable. They’re from Oprah fans who are enthused by a cable channel with entire lineup of inspirational, self-help programs that bear her stamp. On the other side of the coin, there are also a handful of messages left inevitably by detractors who feel the need to point out that they’ve never liked Oprah and don’t intend to start liking her now.
But it’s the ones slowly realizing that they have to upgrade to cable to watch Oprah now that points to one of Winfrey’s biggest challenges as she strives to move her brand to cable and, in the process, bring her vast community of followers along with her. (Fans can continue to watch “The Oprah Winfrey Show” on broadcast TV until the daytime queen ends her show after 25 years in May.)
It’s just another one of the pitfalls and challenges that face Oprah as she makes this historic transition from host of an iconic talk show to running an entire cable network bearing her name.