Oprah's conquest to rule over all entertainment took another giant step today.
The media mogul and Discovery Communications announced they were partnering up for the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN), which will launch in 2009. OWN will be split down the middle between Discovery Communications and Oprah's Harpo Productions and is described as a "multiplatform media venture...designed to entertain, inform, and inspire people to live their best lives."
When the channel is ready for the airwaves, Discovery will flip a switch and slap OWN over Discovery Health Channel, which will presumably be laid to rest. DHC is currently available in more than 70 million households, according to Discovery.
"Fifteen years ago, I wrote in my journal that one day I would create a television network, as I always felt my show was just the beginning of what the future could hold," said Winfrey. "For me, the launch of The Oprah Winfrey Network is the evolution of the work I've been doing on television all these years and a natural extension of my show."
As chairman of OWN, Winfrey will have "full editorial control" over the channel's programming. Her wildly popular talk show The Oprah Winfrey Show, could also wind up airing exclusively on the channel.
When asked about moving the show to OWN when its contract expires in 2010 or 2011, Winfrey said that was in the plans. "Eventually that will happen, we hope," she said, according to The New York Times.
Winfrey's Oprah.com will also be folded into the venture, but its unclear how.
Called by some to be the "most influential woman in the world," Winfrey is worth an estimated $2.5 billion. Winfrey previously helped start the Oxygen Network, which was sold off in October to NBC Universal.