Oprah Winfrey and Discovery Communications have announced plans to create OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network. The new multi-platform media venture will debut in 2009 in more than 70 million homes, on what is currently the Discovery Health Channel. The venture will also include the digital platform, Oprah.com. Winfrey will serve as chairman of The Oprah Winfrey Network, LLC and the venture will be 50/50 owned by Discovery and Harpo, Oprah’s production company. This is a cashless transaction and The Oprah Winfrey Network, LLC will be an independent company. Discovery Communications will contribute to the venture the Discovery Health Channel, as well as handle distribution, origination and other operational requirements for the proposed venture. Both organizations will contribute advertising sales services to the venture. Up until last year, Oprah’s Harpo owned shares in Oxygen, the network that was acquired by NBC Universal.UPDATE – During a conference call with journalists, Oprah Winfrey said that her current afternoon show will not be shown on the new channel till at least 2011, when her syndication contract with King World runs out.
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