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An open letter to Oprah Winfrey: How to fix OWN

August 29, 2011 | 11:08 am

How oprah can fix own
It's only been a month and a half since Oprah Winfrey announced that she was focusing her attention on her struggling Oprah Winfrey Network, but the channel's fall lineup looks like more of the same: largely a mix of earnest reality series and makeover shows. So television critic Mary McNamara has written an open letter to Oprah, offering some guidance on changing up the network.

"Too much 'inspiration' is a drag, and too much advice is annoying," writes McNamara, keeping her suggestions to five key points. One of them is that OWN could use a lot more humor:

"For a woman who has used humor so effectively in the rest of her career, you have allowed it to be all but excised from your network. Things do not need to be mean to be funny.... I am sure there are hundreds of comedians, female and male, dying to come up with the OWN version of 'The Daily Show.'"

Then there is the lack of what McNamara deems "romantic tension":

"Are you telling us that love and sex aren't parts of living your best life, Oprah? Because all we've gotten so far are a show about infidelity and Dr. Laura Berman dealing with a bunch of troubled marriages.... If we can't smolder and make out, we don't want any part of your revolution."

Read more of her open letter here.

What do you think of OWN so far, and what advice would you give Oprah?


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Photos: From left, "The O'Neals" stars Ryan and daughter Tatum; Chaz Bono with interviewer Rosie O'Donnell; Lisa Ling. Credit: Gilles Mingasson / Oprah Winfrey Network.