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Oprah’s New Network Hits Airwaves Today

Many Americans are disappointed that Oprah Winfrey is walking away from her afternoon talk show that has become a staple on their televisions, but Oprah has new projects on the horizon, including her new Oprah Winfrey Network that debuts today in about a 85-million homes.

Beginning at noon today, cable and satellite subscribers will be able to dial up OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network, which will go live with a day loaded with preview programming. OWN has announced that 22 original programs will debut in 2011, beginning Sunday night. Among them are shows hosted by name-brand personalities with Oprah affiliations (Gayle King, Rosie O’Donnell and Dr. Phil McGraw) and reality programs starring the Duchess of York Sarah Ferguson and famously private country-pop singer Shania Twain.

It’s a new chapter for Winfrey and her fans, including the roughly 7 million viewers who watch her talk show, which will end its 25-year run in September.

Winfrey, just named by Forbes as Hollywood’s highest earner ($315 million in 2010), is committed to appearing on about 70 hours per year on the network, but she’s also involved in producing other shows. Winfrey is a co-owner of the $189-million venture with Discovery Communications Inc., but the specifics of the agreement have not been released.

Although Winfrey is expected to pop up on other OWN shows, diehard fans’ best bet to see the talk queen will be “Oprah’s Next Chapter,” which debuts in the fall. “Next” will feature her interviewing celebrities and newsmakers on location instead of in her studio.

via Oprah’s new network hits airwaves today | freep.com | Detroit Free Press.

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