In a recent article I pointed out that Oprah Winfrey is under a lot of pressure to get the show back on track after a few years of failures. I concluded that Oprah Winfrey’s brand value would be harmed if the show was canceled because her audience may have lost interest. It is true that the ratings are down, but Oprah was the face of a successful network television, so the viewership that the network lost was not the only one.
The problem is that network TV audience has been declining since the 80s, which is when network TV really took off and started paying its stars a lot of money. Then after the Olympics the competition to get prime time for popular shows dwindled away. With ratings down they probably had to fire more people. Why wouldn’t they?
When I called it the problem is the kind of shows the network wanted to produce at the same time. Their first choice was a country music show with some novelty act on the cover, a comedy, a talk show, and of course a morning show. That may sound like the network was picking hits when really it was picking hits from performers that would have earned an Emmy nomination, let alone a win. All of the new shows they wanted to do were generally “important” shows, just for daytime or in prime time.
In the end the producers decided to cancel the talk show, but that is why they were honored that they would get nominated. But they also considered canceling the sitcom. How does the network feel about Oprah as a person and what does she offer them? She was on the cover of Vogue once and the network wanted her to have a talk show that looked like what they want to make, but the network didn’t want to invest a lot of money.
It isn’t just the network. The networks are all struggling and everybody knows it. On Monday nights the ratings are good, but that is not enough to make the news. They need an hour in prime time every week to fill up their prime time slots.
So the question is whether or not Oprah is worth having on any network. I think the answer is no. Oprah has had her share of controversies that she has to walk through on a daily basis. Oprah Winfrey is not without her issues, but she is the biggest show in network television.
So you have a ratings problem on network TV. You have a guy who is quite successful at what he does with the media company. So I think the show needs to go on. The answer to your question is probably no, but if it does then you have a very famous person who is worth something in the world.