Oprah's OWN ratings fall during first week

Oprah Winfrey’s new cable network is having some early growing pains.

After exploding out of the gate in the ratings (and on a Saturday, no less), viewership for OWN has declined significantly.

While OWN’s premiere averaged 1 million primetime viewers last weekend, Sunday dropped to 822,000. Monday fell to 394,000, followed by Tuesday hitting 315,000. In the network’s target of women 25-54, OWN went from an opening night rating of 0.6 to a 0.2 at the start of the week.

Compared to other women’s networks, OWN was still remarkably competitive, though entrenched rivals like Oxygen and WE have mostly closed the gap (with Lifetime remaining out in front).

After heavy curiosity-driven tune-in, such a steep decline isn’t really all that surprising. Cable network have historically launched soft and quiet, gathering viewers and content gradually over a period of years. It’s OWN’s strong debut that remains truly unusual here, and proves there’s plenty of viewer interest in the channel.

OWN CEO Christina Norman points out that the network is just getting started, and on its way to its goal of 600 hours of original programming.

“Launch is only the beginning for us,” she says. “Our goal was to double Discovery Health Channel’s ratings and move from a network ranked in the 40s to a network ranked in the 20s. So far we’re meeting those figures.”

Stay tuned, Oprah is about to take the stage at TCA press tour and face a roomful of critics. Should be interesting…

UPDATE: Things picked up slightly for OWN on Wednesday, drawing 389,000.

UPDATE II: Oprah meets the critics! Asked about Anderson Cooper’s upcoming talk show, she says: “He will not, definitively, will not — what I know for sure — he will not be the next Oprah.”

Comments (551 total) Add your comment
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  • jfms777

    Hard to believe OWN wants to eventually charge us (fee$) to watch this. With this (low) level quality, I doubt that will happen anytime soon.

    • Amanda Kiwinerd

      There aren’t enough fat housewives to watch that network.

      • Dan

        What does your comment have to do with the article? DIAF.

      • Morgan

        Better than your fat head. so there

      • LaStoopid

        OMG – I have a website,too! It’s called PurpleKnobsNNillaPuddin. You can volunteer to help children straddle their mirrors. For diversity! Yea!

      • Steven

        I personally think there’s more than enough but they won’t pay for the channel because it will take away from their food money.

      • LOKI


      • Jasper2

        Actually, there ARE enough fat housewives, Amanda. 40% of Americans are not just overweight, but obese. If your intended audience is lower socioeconomic classes, and lower education levels, that number is most likely significantly higher.

      • elizabeth

        Amanda-Not all housewives are overweight and watch Oprah.

    • Sally in Chicago

      It’s going to take Own years to get its audience up with quality shows….one week does not make a TV show or a network.

      • Joe

        you’re forgetting part of the reason why oprah’s no longer on network tv is because her show’s ratings have dropped steadily over the recent years as well. surprise surprise, her own tv network’s ratings dropped, oprah’s not nearly as influential nowadays as she used to be

      • jared4ever

        You’re ridiculous. Oprah is more popular than ever.

      • meg

        @Joe, Oprah was never on network TV. Her show has been syndicated to local channels for 25 years. It’s still one of the strongest syndicated shows on TV. But don’t let the facts get in the way of your comments.

      • spd459

        What do you think network TV is meg? He didnt say cable TV. People like you are the reason this country in going down the drain.

      • Bob

        Network TV is not the same as syndication.

        Syndicated shows can appear on a wide array of TV stations, and those station may be network affiliates, or they may not.

        You owe meg an apology.

      • Bucko

        @Bob, Meg — pedantic much? Her show is syndicated and broadcast through affiliates; I believe ABC is the largest carrier. It’s ON the network channels, as opposed to USA, MTV, HBO, or some other cable channel. OK? Pedantic MUCH?

      • ann1075

        Oprah is WAAY OUT OF TOUCH…OWN is a joke and will not succeed….she’s in love with herself and a GREAT MANY of us fell out of love with her waaaaay before OWN….her ego is so big that she won’t see the writing on the wall..Her new shows are boring and are nothing new….she needs to retire and stop wasting her time building her mega ego…IT’S OVER FACE IT….

      • Jacqueline Padilla

        Joe, you are a very smart guy. I agree with you 100%. I have noticed a decline in her ratings for years. Personally I do not care for her at all. She got lucky with her popularity. Now it is time for someone else to get the attention.

    • BobM

      Perhaps people, women particularly, are waking up to the fact that Oprah is nothing but a Jerry Springer type trash merchant.

      • Bob

        But who will tell them what to buy? How to think?

        Gabbo will tell them what to do.

      • IrishEyesAreBlue

        BobM … “Jerry Springer” is a step-up over Oprah. Only brainless zombies watch Oprah … most of them fat, lazy, welfareites.

      • paloozie

        I watched Oprah a few years ago & enjoyed the shows. Her audiences were adoring. Does she no longer produce creditable entertainment?

    • Duncan Dewar

      OWN network isn’t available on my cable box w/ Time Warner.

      • P.T.

        Lucky you. I want my old station back. I used to watch Discovery Health almost everyday, and now I’m stuck with the mindless dribble on OWN.

      • Douglas Davis

        I know Oprah doesn’t want male viewers but I too sure miss Discovery Health. Dr. G. … I loved it.

      • Betsy

        I totally agree! I want Discovery Health back!

      • josie

        The former Discovery Health is now on 261 fitTV!!

      • Koren

        I am very unhappy that Discovery Health was replaced by OWN. I don’t want to see reruns of shows that I never liked, and the “new programming” is awful so far.

      • Margaret

        I very much miss Discovery Health also. I am not at all interested in what Oprah does or says.

      • Sherry

        I agree with you P.T.. I miss my Discovery Health programs, like Mystery Diagnosis and ER Trauma. Will they ever come back?

    • gbo

      Oprah doesn’t do stairs.

    • anna

      I have not watched her nor do I ever plan to. She is a rich nasty know it all…Give us back Discovery Health!!

      • Sarah

        Please bring back god tv on Discovery Health!!!!
        Oprah go get your OWN channel!!!

      • Sarah

        Please bring back good tv on Discovery Health!!!!
        Oprah go get your OWN channel!!!

    • Pavel Goberman

      Producers promote Oprah. If this show could pay me for waste my time – I will watch it.
      Pavel Goberman – Candidate for US

  • tulo

    The network looks fantastic. Can’t wait for Gayle King & Lisa Ling to start & then Rosie in the fall.

    • sowhatwhocares

      Can’t wait for Rosie’s talk show to start in the fall.

      • LOKI

        should call it the fat lesbian network

    • suzie

      ROSIE??? Isn’t everyone tired of that man-hating douchebag?

      • Yawwn

        Not everyone. There are other male-hating douchebags who can still stand to watch her.

      • Paul

        Shame on anyone who would pay to for any channel that give the America/man/Christian/Jew hating Rosie O’Donnell a platform to spew her venom.

        If you’re a woman who can’t figure out why relationships never work for you and you watch crap like there’s the reason why.

      • Uhhh…yeah.

        Paul…isn’t just saying it like it is refreshing? Look at all the Obamonauts praising…Rosie? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA….

      • RK

        If there is anyone that hates men just as much, it’s Okra!

      • Mephistopheles

        lol…I thought Rosie was a bull dike

      • Al

        @Paul — Thanks for the laugh, I was thinking the same thing.

      • mimi


    • Marbella

      Really? You have got to be joking? Please tell me you are not serious. You cannot wait to hear someone that is best known as ‘the best friend of Oprah’ and a nobody like Lisa Ling and their own chat shows? You have got to get out more girl and get a real life!

    • billy bouy

      Oh the pain and suffering you must be feeling, not having Gayle and Ling to inform, instruct, and command you and your life. Wake up—they’re all paid entertainment shills you dolt. They dont care about you or anyone else…my gosh look at where and how they live.—not among, with nor near the “little people”…

    • Bob

      How many talk shows can you STAND in one day??

      Read a book.
      Hug a tree.
      Do SOMEthing unexpected.

      • Ellie

        You go Bob!

      • me

        Oprah is the reason I only watch Conan. Haven’t watched much else even close to talk shows for like 10 years. I am not gullible enough to believe the excrement that spews out of her mouth. And, I am in her target audience.

    • ash415

      It’s hard to take Oprah serious when she puts a nutcase like Rosie (can you say truther?) on her channel. Luckily, OWN channel isn’t available in my $130/month cable package, LOL. They should make it available to basic cable subscribers–that’s where Rosie’s audience is.

      • trouble06

        Don’t insult us basic cable subscribers like that. Don’t watch the O or Rosie both are racist.

      • ann1075

        rosie is a FAT joke and so are the people Okra surrounds herself with by taking a brief look at her staff behind the scenes…overweight, unattractive white women is what she surrounds herself with..insecurity big time….

      • mimi

        @ me– LSMH! Conan is a dweeb; one of societies misfits. That must be a pre req. for talk show host. Damn them

    • paloozie

      @Tulo, surely you jest! Rosie is crude and rude. I wouldn’t watch, but I’m sure there are some crude ‘n rude folks who will.

    • Sarah

      Can you say yuck!!

  • Casey

    Maybe they’ll bring back Discovery Health. Some people actually like educational television and not reality and talk shows.

    • Kim


      • lala

        Do you have the Fit tv channel? It seems what has now happened is that all the Fit TV shows have been cut off and replaced by a bunch of the Discovery Health shows. Looks like Fit TV is only on in the mornings now. ironic that they now have less of something that it most important to health, for shows that have little or nothing to do with health (Dr G).

    • Kat

      Discovery Health was one of my favorite channels. I am so peeved. I was thinking it was moved so I was looking everywhere for it. Grrrr.
      Oprah, can’t you just go away???

      • tnmccoy

        My sentiments exactly. The OWN is just another manifestation of Oprah’s huge ego. She has more money than brains. The Health Channel was 10,000% better.

      • Terry

        OPRAH = OVER

      • Audra

        I agree. OWN sucks. I miss Discovery Health. Oprah is just another one of the people who try to mask their need for attention by doing “good deeds” for others.

      • Pinky


      • ndz28

        I too miss Discovery Health. At least it was intelligent television. But I guess the fat, lazy, bon bon eating women need something to watch.

      • me

        I am a “house-wife”, and unfortunately, you would look at me and put me in that category. I don’t like Oprah and haven’t for years. I don’t watch talk shows or soap operas. I do love discovery health though. Don’t put people in categories. Most women I know who watch Oprah have jobs, and tivo it.

      • Pat

        As far as I’m concerned, Oprah and Rosie can both get lost. Neither of the two are worth listening to. Discovery Health is educational, they are not.

      • Lisa

        @tnmccoy Even the OWN logo on the bottom right of the screen is larger than any other logo I’ve ever seen on a channel. She is so self-obsessed, it’s ridiculous.

      • josie

        fitTv has all the show that used to be on Discovery Health!

      • josie

        fiTV has all the Discovery shows now!

      • karen

        I miss Discovery Health!! so far I haven’t seen a single thing to interest me on OWN….all mindless talk

    • ashley

      THANK YOU!!! i loved Discovery Health. And now every time I turn it on, forgetting Oprah destroys everything, my soul dies just a little bit more.
      I miss it so much!!!!!!!!

    • will

      Discovery health. There always was something good on there. Watching those sugeries they showed on there always grossed me out but I could not stop watching how they actually do them.

    • Sally

      I agree with Will – Discovery is quality tv – hard to find these days. Not interested in Oprah.

    • P.T.

      Discovery Health was my “go to” station. Now I find myself flipping around the channels more and more.

      • Sarah

        Me too! I loved Discovery Health’s shows!!

    • josie

      Discovery Health is now on channel 261 (for me) on fitTV. Hope you find it. All the shows are there.

    • LaToya

      ty ty ty ty casey I totally agree. I would never watch that crap

    • Sarah

      We can only hope!!

  • kim in kentucky

    So far I haven’t seen any show listed that I’ve wanted to watch.

  • JPX

    This really pleases me for some reason. She got a little too greedy.

    • Tom


      • ObiHave

        Same here…one huge ego trip. What a shame more men didn’t turn out to watch it…oops, I accidentally switched to the sarcasm channel.

      • suzie

        Seems that Oprah doesn’t have to comply with EEOC laws…When was the last time a (straight) MAN had a high position in her empire?

    • Kat

      I feel a little guilty, but I kind of agree, JPX. :)

    • name


  • Linde

    I won’t watch…I can watch TLC for FREE

  • Michael

    I don’t even know what channel OWN would be in my house!

  • kl

    I don’t even know what OWN is, we don’t have her yet on our country but I do know Oprah and read her magazine, I hope they hire someone like me. I fit the bill of what Daniel Pink says, I hope they hire me since owning or someday having my own TV station is my dream come true. Maybe I can help. And I’m serious.

  • me

    i’ll give it a chance as time goes on, but i will NOT pay for it.

  • Anna May

    I want the old channel back,I hate her show.It sucks/

    • josie

      Try fitTV. It’s got ALL the Discovery Health shows. Hope you get it!

  • rnp

    What did they expect? Each show has been reun several times, already, in the first week. Of course, viewership would drop. Once is plenty for these shows, so far

  • bruno

    maybe if they had something, i dunno, GOOD to watch their ratings would be better.

  • Lds

    Good lord give it time to grow and get its footing. I will watch OWN but not if I have to pay extra for it, cable is already bleeding us dry!

    • Bob

      Don’t you enjoy paying for thirty channels of nothing but INFOMERCIALS??

  • BJG

    Cripes, the thing premiered on the first and you’re practically wailing FAIL on the 6th?????

    Thank goodness the internet wasn’t around back when TV started!

    • Douglas Davis

      We are experts. 5 days would have been enough for us.

  • Kim

    :whomp whomp:

    • Joanne

      Did you ever notice that Oprah NEVER has fat women in her audience, unless it is a specifically fat themed show. It doesn’t make sense to me that every day, no fat women show up, especially considering how many there are in the general population. What gives with that?

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