Oprah Winfrey ups her commitment to her OWN network


Launch costs have exceeded expectations for OWN: the Oprah Winfrey Network, so the partners are increasing their commitments. Discovery Communications is putting in more money and Oprah Winfrey is putting in more Oprah.

In an SEC filing, Discovery reported that it has increased its funding commitment to OWN from $100 million to $189 million, in the form of a revolving loan to the network from either Discovery or a third party lender.

“As part of the amendment, Ms. Winfrey has agreed to increase her on-air commitment to OWN, including hosting or starring in a show to air on OWN,” the SEC filing stated. Previously, Winfrey had committed to hosting only occasional primetime specials called “Oprah’s Next Chapter.”

The filing also hints at a possible earlier launch. Previously the partners, Discovery and Winfrey’s Harpo Studios, had said OWN was targeting a January 2011 launch. “The parties also agreed that OWN will launch on or before January 1, 2011,” Discovery said of the latest terms of the partnership.