In less than 48 hours, Oprah Winfrey is hoping her fans will consider nursing their New Years Eve hangovers with some fresh cable programming. The Oprah Winfrey Network will officially kick off at noon on New Years Day with an introductory special dubbed Oprah’s Guide to OWN: The New Oprah Winfrey Network. Hosted by the Queen of Daytime herself, the hour-long program will recap Winfrey’s mission to “entertain, inform and inspire people to live their best lives” on what used to be the Discovery Health Channel (OWN’s a joint venture between Harpo Inc. and Discovery Communications).
The network will be available in 85 million homes.
OWN’s day one lineup will mostly include sneak peeks of some of its original series, including Kidnapped by the Kids and Miracle Detectives. Later in the evening, the network will fall back on what Winfrey does best – her talk show. Look for a several hours of Oprah: Behind the Scenes throughout the weekend, not to mention more sneak peeks of her fresh programming, which will include a mix of original series, specials, original documentaries and acquired movies. To date, a total of 22 original series have been announced, including Cristina Ferrare’s Big Bowl of Love, Enough Already! With Peter Walsh, In the Bedroom with Dr. Laura Berman and The Gayle King Show. For more details on the schedule, click here.
Meanwhile, more than 15,000 people auditioned for Your Own Show: Oprah’s Search for the Next TV Star, which will premiere on Jan. 7. The mammoth “talent” pool was whittled down to 10 people, who will be guided by hosts Nancy O’Dell and Carson Kressley through challenges to see if they have what it takes to host their own show (which just happens to be the grand prize). OWN released these details on the 10 finalists:
Zach Anner, Austin, TX. Zach’s idea is to make a travel show for people who never thought they could travel.
Elizabeth Espinosa, Los Angeles, CA. Says the news reporter for KTLA, “My show would incorporate the interview skills I’ve honed from being a reporter while also using that platform to help families with disabled children.”
Aunt Flora, Cincinnati, OH. Aunt Flora specializes in southern cooking. “In 2007 Martha Stewart came in and tried my cobbler and then had me on her show…I just love to cook and I’ve been doing it my whole life.”
Leigh Koechner, Valley Village, CA. Leigh produced a presentation piece dubbed Absolute-Leigh with her own money and her rolodex of celebrity friends, and hopes to do more.
Kristina Kuzmic-Crocco, Alhambra, CA. Kristina escaped war-torn Croatia at 15 and worked various jobs as she struggled to raise her two young kids. She cultivated her love of cooking into her website, stickycook.com.
Ryan O’Connor, West Hollywood, CA. America, according to Ryan, needs a lot of things, but most importantly, “this country needs a gay best friend, and that’s where I come in.” Ryan has honed his comedic timing and entertainment skills through his one-man show that’s currently touring the country.
Dr. Tony Roach, Abilene, TX. As a teenager, Dr. Tony dropped out of high school to live on the streets. He ended up earning his doctoral degree in divinity from Abilene Christian University and travels the country promoting his message of self-esteem.
Terey Summers, Phoenix, AZ. She’s a comedic motivational speaker for youth in Arizona who also leads “Partners Who Heal,” an improv/storytelling group that spends time at St. Joseph’s and Phoenix Children’s Hospital.
Alicia Taylor, Las Vegas, NV. With her BA in Business Management, Alicia went on to start her own mortgage company. “From checking accounts to retirement funds and investing, people need a practical and fun show about all things financial, and because I’m an expert, I can help people make sound decisions.”
Eric Warren, Lawndale, CA. Once 62 pounds heavier, Eric wants to host a cooking show that has America losing weight with him.