Oprah: 'I wouldn't bet against me'

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By BJ Lutz
NBC Chicago

Media queen Oprah Winfrey on Thursday acknowledged there’s been a few “bumps along the way’’ in launching a new television network, but had some advice for her naysayers: “I wouldn’t bet against me. I just wouldn’t,” she told journalist Paula Zahn during an appearance at a cable industry trade show in Chicago.

The Oprah Winfrey Network launched on Jan. 1, taking over what had been Discovery Health. As OWN was under development, Winfrey said she was also trying to finish the last 130 episodes of her syndicated TV talk show, the last episode of which aired on May 25.

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Ratings have so far been low for the young network, and its top executive quit last month. But with “The Oprah Winfrey Show’’ off the air after 25 seasons, Winfrey said she finally feels like she can be “all in” in nurturing her baby network. “This is the moment I’ve been waiting for for the past two years,” she said. “I have the ability to commit my full energy, I feel like I’m jumping in, feet first, body immersed, all of it.”

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She said about 300 Harpo staffers are still on board to produce Rosie O’Donnell and Gayle King’s new shows. Winfrey will appear in “Oprah’s Next Chapter,” in which she travels the world in search of interesting stories, and “Season 25: Oprah Behind the Scenes,” a chronicle of her final talk show year. She will also be seen in the series “Oprah Presents Master Class” and “Your OWN Show: Oprah’s Search for the Next TV Star.”

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