Oprah Winfrey opens up on her OWN mistakes
April 2nd, 2012
05:07 PM ET

Oprah Winfrey opens up on her OWN mistakes

Having her OWN network has been more than she bargained for, CEO and media personality Oprah Winfrey said Monday.

After canceling Rosie O'Donnell's primetime program on OWN and conducting what she calls the painful task of laying off 30 of her staffers at the developing network, Winfrey told "CBS This Morning" that the road to developing OWN has been so rocky, that she might even consider doing something different if given the opportunity.

"Creating a network was something that I'd wanted to do. Had I known that it was this difficult, I might've done something else," she told "CBS This Morning's" Charlie Rose and her gal pal Gayle King. "I didn't think it was going to be easy, but if I knew then what I know now, I might've made some different choices."

In fact, "If I were writing a book about it," she continued, "I could call the book '101 Mistakes.'"

For example, one of her top five mistakes was "launching when we really weren't ready to launch...it's like having the wedding when you know you're not ready. When I think about it now, I would've waited until I finished 'The Oprah Show.'"

The struggle of growing OWN has been compounded by negative press, but she's not throwing in the towel.

"I believe I'm here to fulfill a calling. Because I am a female who is African American who's been so blessed in the world, there is never going to be a time to quit. I will die in the midst of doing what I love to do, and that is using my voice and using my life to inspire other people to live the best of theirs," Winfrey said.

"Because a thing appears to not be doing well, because you failed at something - which, we haven't failed - but because you failed does not make you a failure," she went on. "And when you know that in the core of yourself, you can keep trying or you can use whatever is happening in that moment to say, maybe I need to move in a new direction. ...Our strategy is to do what we should've done from the beginning, building one show, one hour, one night at a time."

Filed under: Oprah Winfrey • television

soundoff (66 Responses)
  1. pretty woman walkin down the street

    pretty woman i'd like to meet

    February 20, 2013 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Maternity Acupressure, acupressure points, Healthy Pregnancy Diet

    Magnificent points altogether, you simply gained a new reader. What might you suggest about your publish that you just made a few days in the past? Any certain?

    February 20, 2013 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Burbank

    That's what happens when you over-hype yourself. Oprah is the all time self-hyping Goddess! Sarah Palin gets second place, Kate Gosselin third.

    April 4, 2012 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • HllywoodBuzz



      Looking for activists interested in AUTISM AWARENESS, HUNGER RELIEF & EQUALITY to join Recording Artist/Activist Shirley Levi for a fun afternoon of peaceful demonstration.

      3pm on Monday April 23rd in Los Angeles 5700 Wilshire Blvd.

      RSVP: press@re-belvisionarymusic.com or text "ACTIVISM" to 347-688-6216


      April 22, 2012 at 6:57 pm | Report abuse |
  4. cdw

    I never liked Oprah from the very beginning. And I like her even less now because of the school she built in Africa, instead of helping the needy in the US. There are dying children right in Chicago that could've used the help, but, every actor/actress has to run to Africa to outdo the last celebrity that went over there on a humanitarian mission, or an adoption, etc. If her devotion is to Africa, maybe she should move there.

    April 4, 2012 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Patricksday

      If you knew Oprah better you would know she has donated funds to help keep schools open in the inner cities, some of them fine Catholic schools that are a safe haven for the youth in inner cities who wish to learn and go onto college and give back to America.

      April 4, 2012 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • NG

      WOW, really? What have YOU done to change anything in your country. What she has done is way more appreciated here in Africa, than you biggoted and unappreciative Americans realise. God bless her immensely! May he also open your mind, for you see the world through your eyes, and not for what the world truly is.

      May 21, 2012 at 7:58 am | Report abuse |
  5. Randy from Peninsula OH

    Probably wouldn't have mattered one whit, but I would have named the network THE Oprah Winfrey Network so that the letters formed the word TOWN. That would take it one degree away from it seeming to be so much about Oprah. That her initials form the word OWN couldn't be helped, but it doesn't sound inclusive to me for a network to be "me, my, mine." That's what OWN said to me. Also, the advertising could be built around the word TOWN–"Check out what's new in TOWN" and the like. And towns are symbolically groups of people, from different backgrounds, who come together for a shared purpose. Works on many levels! Nevertheless, I wish Oprah well in her endeavor and hope things turn around for her.

    April 4, 2012 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Griff

    I think Shirley Levi is a dude. I BET she wants Oprah to open her "package!" Hahahaha!!! In all seriousness, Shirley, if you're reading this, I respect your energy & enthusiasm, but if you REALLY want to work for Oprah I think you should consider dressing more professionally and making your video more professionally, maybe OWN will see THAT on YouTube and will pay more attention!

    April 4, 2012 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anton Jay

      I disagree. Shirley's energy and look is punk rock but her heart is in the right place. I love her video. It's raw and honest. I think Oprah's peeps will take notice.

      April 4, 2012 at 9:43 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Cactusmac

    Oprah is the queen of the egotists. Her magazine only features her picture for the cover. (Yes, I KNOW it's her magazine but come on...) She DID build a school in Africa, but had to get NBC to run a full-length prime time broadcast on what a wonderful woman she was to build said school. Yes, she did give all of those audience members new cars a few years back. Trouble is, she convinced GM to "donate" the cars to her so she appear to actually give them to said audience. Stop listening to this egotist! Think for yourselves!

    April 4, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
  8. grey

    The shows on the OWN network are extremely boring. As educated working woman, there is nothing that interests me on her channel. Oprah has gone too political and trashy and has alienated half of her audience. Instead of starting a network, she should have set up a non profit healthcare/insurance company rather than be greedy and further expand her empire for profit. How much does one person really need? Plus, did she really think women would sit around and what reruns of the movie 'Look Who's Talking' all day?

    April 4, 2012 at 9:15 am | Report abuse |
  9. Robert

    who else has a magazine and puts herself on the cover pretty much every issue. If there's a more narcissistic woman on the planet I'd be amazed. Oprah, don't go away mad, just go away...

    April 4, 2012 at 7:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Marci229

      My goodness, what jealous people! I love Oprah and have watched her over the years. She has helped so many people and is very intelligent and passes along her knowledge any way she can. She admits to her mistakes which is more than most people do. I wish her well and may OWN eventually work for her. I find it very difficult that people resent those that have done well in live. She definitely has my thumbs-up!

      April 19, 2012 at 9:11 pm | Report abuse |
  10. martha


    April 4, 2012 at 1:29 am | Report abuse |
    • cactusmac

      SHAME ON YOU for listening to Oprah. She is so full of herself, it's pathetic to watch. Wise up and rise up, martha.

      April 4, 2012 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
  11. diane sargent

    Unbelievable comments...such venom.!! I don't get where that comes from...Oprah has donated millions to help others. Who cares why. So what have you done? I expect not much. Maybe that's where the envy and hatred comes from.

    April 4, 2012 at 1:23 am | Report abuse |
  12. Jerry

    ...get back on the treadmill Oprah...you as big as a duplex, sweetie.

    April 4, 2012 at 1:12 am | Report abuse |
    • michele

      You ARE as big as a duplex NOT "you as big as a duplex". Hate all you want but at least use proper English!

      May 4, 2012 at 9:34 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Jerry

    ...a channel you would still get even if you didn't pay the cable bill 🙁

    April 4, 2012 at 1:07 am | Report abuse |
  14. Sir WaffleBottoms

    The biggest mistake she made was just not hanging it up and going off somewhere to fade into obscurity.

    April 3, 2012 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
  15. mychaeltodd

    "Nothing beats a failure- but a try"- Mychaeltodd

    April 3, 2012 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
  16. Bill

    Did Oprah really believe that anyone would want to watch Rosie?

    April 3, 2012 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  17. ICEvMAN

    "Because I am a female who is African American"

    Who cares what race you are? It's not like we didn't notice. Imagine if I said, "Because i am white..." ???
    I would be labelled a racist bigot. SO THEN IS SHE !!!

    April 3, 2012 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
  18. blairablair

    Maybe obama will put her in as Secretary of State or give her some kind of job in his empire.

    April 3, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gary.L

      blairablair, are you talking about getting Shirley Levi in the White House or Oprah??

      April 3, 2012 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
  19. WellHello

    Shirley 2012!

    April 3, 2012 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gary.L

      Love that girl! I'm surprised the media hasn't caught onto her yet. She's got some balls!! I love her energy! Shirley Levi 2012!!!

      April 3, 2012 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Aubrey T.

      She has a lot of balls going out in the streets by herself for her cause. I wish I had the nerve.

      April 4, 2012 at 7:06 pm | Report abuse |
  20. Molly .M

    How many of you a55holes have had your bills paid by Donald Trump or Mayor Bloomfield,and were's your new car or their favorite things they gave to you for Christmas?

    April 3, 2012 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
  21. PhinsUp

    I think the network is failing because people are just getting extremely sick of Oprah.

    April 3, 2012 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
  22. Lonnie6

    Shirley, I applaud you for all the work you do for those in need. Keep fighting! – Lonnie

    April 3, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
  23. Mary

    I can think of two big mistakes right off hand – too much Dr. Phil and Dr. Oz. When will these two go away?

    April 3, 2012 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
  24. droitetavant

    Where is the HD?
    Worst quality channel ever

    April 3, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
  25. LindaPP

    Oprah makes me want to throw up.

    April 3, 2012 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
  26. GRS62

    "Well, I thought that just by being Oprah I could get away with putting a lot of uninteresting cr@p on television and my loyal subjects would steal TV's just to watch. When that didn't work I went back to the industry gold standard...jumping in on the current media frenzy. Yeah, that Whitney stuff made me some money and I'm still milking the story for all it's worth."

    April 3, 2012 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
  27. Lonnie

    There was a time that she did amazing things. She was loved by a lot of people, but like everything, that time has passed. She should enjoy her money and live the dream she has created. She doesn't need the public anymore.

    April 3, 2012 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
  28. lloyd DeMoss

    So not news, the lush dumbaugh of the black race.

    April 3, 2012 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
  29. Observer

    Oprah is a liberal stooge and the real reason she retired is so that she can dedicate herself to her real passion, which is eating.

    April 3, 2012 at 10:18 am | Report abuse |
  30. tooquiet4me2005

    Aw, c'mon O.

    This is NOT the first failed network for you, is it now?

    April 3, 2012 at 9:37 am | Report abuse |
  31. Christine

    My gosh such haters..what have any of you contributed (and I don't mean the one time tax deductibile contribution) to make a difference. And yes, she should be proud of being an African American woman who has done well. She doesn't just produce for others but is control of what she does. Can you name on your fingers any others? Face it the playing field is never even but unless you are on the uneven side you will never know. If she can inspire people to be the best they can be, what is wrong with that! I swear people complain when "we" don't and complain when "we" do. Also, do a little research she gives plently to U.S. schools, just because you didn't read it somewhere doesn't mean it isn't happening.. I should know, I student taught at one of them.

    April 3, 2012 at 9:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Kyle

      Well she didn't give me anything. I want a new car too. And some bacon. Mmmmmmm baaaacoooon. : )

      April 3, 2012 at 10:13 am | Report abuse |
    • TrollsRstupid

      I often wonder who these people are. Are they employed? Retired? Are they living with their parents? Are they talk radio hate mongers? Basically, because of no accountability, one can relish in making nasty, negative comments that they would never say in public. It's like these discussion boards have become a platform for those who would never otherwise have anyone listen to them.

      April 3, 2012 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
  32. JellyBean

    I miss her show and used to watch it faithfully. But I have to admit, I got really tired of her shamelessly plugging her OWN network in her shows.

    April 3, 2012 at 7:49 am | Report abuse |
  33. dcam

    Oprah is not "every woman" anymore and we have grown tired or her. She has lost her ability to relate to anyone unless they are billionaire mega stars. She does not inspire. "I will die in the midst of doing what I love to do..." Guess she isn't going to listen to the fact that maybe we don't want to hear her self centered, egotistical banter anymore.

    April 3, 2012 at 5:29 am | Report abuse |
  34. scar

    @squaks,one of the few who doesn't like Oprah?You must be joking about 9O% of the CNN seem to dislike her.

    April 3, 2012 at 1:41 am | Report abuse |
    • squawks

      Scar - I actually thought I was the only person who did not like Oprah. In reality, I know there must be more, but I sure haven't seen or heard them. Thank you.

      I don't see the demise of OWN as a failure. If I had that money, and I already have the brains, I would use it first to ensure the US pop is not hungry or without health services and education, before I would ever worry about the schooling of children on another continent. Doesn't she know there are black girls in the US who need that schooling? Or setting up a school in Africa sure brings more publicity, for sure. I think the absolutely horrifying hunger situation in Africa (and US) could benefit more by her donation. Never heard of any of those girls having to leave a child behind to die because they were too weak to carry it to a food area.

      April 3, 2012 at 2:33 am | Report abuse |
    • scar

      @squawk,please this woman is no idiot,yes indeed she knows about black girls in the US that need help.Maybe you didn't hear Oprah when she explained why she choose to build the school in Africa and may be not the south side of Chicago,it really was a cultural thing mainly were we are in America.Oprha asked several inner city girls in the US if they could have a gift what would they like,no one asked for anything of substance I guess at the time the first Ipod was the sh!t,she said it was what most of the girls asked for.When Oprah put the same question to the low income African girls several of replied with the same answer,a new school uniform because the one they had been wearing everyday was in disrepair.

      April 3, 2012 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
  35. ?

    Did one of your cats type the last one? No one on here talks like that.

    April 2, 2012 at 7:58 pm | Report abuse |
  36. Maria Gonzalez

    I can't wait to see what you do next!! This was so funny but touching. I'm sending this video to all of my friends and subscribing to your yutube asap!! I love your "te quiero" and your español in the video 🙂 I also really admire that you support equality and the immigrants! Te quiero mucho Shirley!

    April 2, 2012 at 7:54 pm | Report abuse |
  37. ?

    Nice multi-stage spam, lady. The sad thing is those probably aren't even bots. Just you and your 30 cats huddled around the computer expectantly.

    April 2, 2012 at 7:46 pm | Report abuse |
  38. Chanise

    Shirley, Oprah would love you if she saw this. I love all of your mad energy, gurl. I believe you when you say that you're gonna change the world.

    April 2, 2012 at 7:37 pm | Report abuse |

    long life oprah, u have done ur best.

    April 2, 2012 at 7:07 pm | Report abuse |
  40. jj

    All of Rosie O'Donnell's shows have been disasters. Not fun to watch all that negativity.

    April 2, 2012 at 6:26 pm | Report abuse |
  41. Cali Cutie

    Oprah brings race into EVERYTHING!! I belive she practices reverse-discrimination and cannot stand her. She's out of control.....all the chefs in the world cannot get her to stop stuffing her face.

    April 2, 2012 at 6:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • squawks

      I am one of the few who does not like Oprah. I thought this would be an apology to her audience members who she was so rude; or how she treats Stedman in public (word does get around, especially on airlines); or how she hoards her money for power and control and greed. The black thing for her is healthy and well as she has demonstrated. She uses excellent guests and uses excellent self-help for others. I wonder why she is not healthy and balanced in her body, and lifestyle, to include her spirituality. She knows what to preach but does not follow. She appears to be charismatic and I have sympathy for her followers.

      April 2, 2012 at 10:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • pitzRule

      You're hateful.

      April 3, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marcia

      Kudos !!
      you are 100% correct.

      April 4, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
  42. HB

    Oprah's 102nd mistake? Not watching Shirley Levi's video "Will Work For Oprah!!"

    April 2, 2012 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Roger S.

      Shirley, Love your spirit and all you stand for!!!!

      April 2, 2012 at 6:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Greg

      Oh, my, Shirley Levi is sooo funny and amazingly cool!! I think I am in love XO!! I hope Oprah gives you a shot at your own show!!!! – Greg

      April 2, 2012 at 6:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Meagan

      LOL, the "Will Work For Oprah" video is so funny!! Love it!

      April 3, 2012 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Power

      Shirley, thanks for standing up for those with autism. It means a lot!!

      April 6, 2012 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
  43. Hmm

    Pun intended?

    April 2, 2012 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joyce

      Why does Oprah think we need her to make our lives better? We have God for that. She really thinks a lot of herself. When I look at the shows on OWN I see absolute crap. I bet Oprah does not sit in front of the tube and watch her OWN shows like "Who the (Bleep) Did I Marry? or "Deranged" or something about people having affairs. Yuck! Is this her idea of quality TV. or advice on life. I thought she was all about enriching the soul. If the shows aren't crap she's jamming Dr. Phil, Tony Robbins and all this self help crap down our throats. How about some quality entertainment!!!!!

      April 3, 2012 at 9:45 pm | Report abuse |

Post a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

About this blog

Our daily cheat-sheet for breaking celebrity news, Hollywood buzz and your pop-culture obsessions.