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The Enduring Power Of Oprah

Like the good media junkie that I am, I’ve followed Oprah Winfrey’s struggles with her OWN television network with a certain resigned fascination that not all ideas are good ones. Boy was I in for a surprise.

I had never even once clicked past the network while flipping through channels… Until the day of the premiere of Oprah’s long-anticipated Lindsay Lohan docu-series, Lindsay, premiered. I turned the TV on that afternoon to make sure I had it set to record. And that is when I saw that evening’s line-up: a sit-down with the just-separated Robin Thicke, Lindsay’s debut and a special on heroin in the wake of Philip Seymour Hoffman—I recorded them all. Puzzled, I hung on to every word of every show. Juicy! Emotional! Engaging! Why has this network had such trouble? It took me exactly one taste, and I was hooked.

Whatever wasn’t working is now fixed—Oprah’s just got to find a wider audience. The programming was of the moment and interesting, with all the same magic she had conjured up during her decades-long reign as queen of daytime TV.

But what really struck me was how Oprah Winfrey didn’t give up. Bad press and sagging audience numbers be damned: She failed, revamped and now she’s on the verge of winning, again. She knew that she could make this network work if she could just figure out how to touch the right people. Having just left a great job myself to start something new, something that hasn’t quite succeeded yet, Oprah’s tenacity really got to me. I could survive on the tiniest sliver of Oprah’s perseverance. If she can do it on her scale, I’m pumped to again try it on mine.

It’s rare that such an icon would choose to forgo retirement and riding off into the sunset to instead embrace an even bigger challenge. And so, Oprah Winfrey continues to lead by example. But of course she does. After all, she has the enduring power of Oprah.

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