Oprah Winfrey has a dream: Getting O.J. Simpson to confess to her
Oprah Winfrey on Thursday conceded that launching her own cable channel has been more difficult than she had expected. But now that her syndicated daytime show has ended, Winfrey said she is committed to building OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network, which has been struggling to find an audience.
That means the queen of television plans to spend a lot more time in Los Angeles, where OWN is based. The channel, a joint venture with Discovery Communications Inc., launched in January.
"The vacation that I thought that I was going to have is over," Winfrey told more than 1,000 people attending the National Cable & Telecommunications Assn. convention in Chicago.
"I need to be there. I need to be engaged and be involved," Winfrey said.
The problem, Winfrey said, was that she didn't have "one single space of energy left" to devote to OWN while she was taping her 25th and final season of the "Oprah Winfrey Show." She wanted to make sure she gave her syndicated show the send-off that she felt it deserved.
So she hasn't been concerned about OWN's paltry ratings. "I let other people worry about the ratings," Winfrey said, admitting that she doesn't even open the email she receives every day, which contains media coverage about OWN. She doesn't have to read an email, she said, she can turn on the channel and see for herself what OWN is missing.
Paula Zahn, who has a show on the Investigation Discovery channel called "On the Case with Paula Zahn" and who was interviewing Winfrey at the convention, asked what guests she would like to land for specials on the new channel.
There are two, Winfrey said.
First, Winfrey said, she would like to interview Susan Smith, the South Carolina mother who was convicted in 1995 and sentenced to life in prison for murdering her two young sons. Winfrey said she always wanted to have Smith on her show to explain her thinking and her actions.
The second get?
"I have a dream of O.J. Simpson confessing to me," Winfrey said. The crowd roared with approval.
What a great interview, Zahn gushed, asking if she could be part of that interview. Winfrey corrected her. It would not just be "an interview." Winfrey said that before agreeing to have Simpson on her new network, the former football great would have to be ready to confess to killing his former wife, Nicole Brown Simpson. (He was acquitted of his ex-wife's murder in 1995.)
"I want the interview on the condition that you are ready, Mr. Simpson," Winfrey said. "And I am going to make that happen, people."
Talk about putting OWN on the map.
-- Meg James
Photo credit: Frazer Harrison / Getty Images