Talk-show host Oprah Winfrey says the idea for OWN came to her in 1992, when she wrote in her journal about creating a network for mindful television, though at the time creating her own network seemed impossible. That is, until 15 years later, when David Zaslav, the head of Discovery, came to her with a copy of Winfrey’s magazine, O, interested in creating a channel based on “living your best life,” in the same way the magazine did. Winfrey says the timing was perfect.“In recent years I started to feel that, Gee, television has lost its mind,” says Winfrey in an interview for O Magazine. “There's no mindfulness there anymore. You used to be able to watch shows and come away with something.”
The launch weekend will feature sneak peeks and series premieres of many of the network’s new shows. One reality-based show will include Breaking Down the Bars, a docu-reality series that will follow the transformation of female prisoners working toward rehabilitation with a therapist. Winfrey says she takes responsibility for the new network seriously. “I feel responsible for the energy that I bring into the rooms of every single person who turns on this channel,” she says.
OWN will replace the Discovery Health Channel on cable and satellite. In Canada, the Viva channel will be rebranded as OWN on March 1.