The Oprah Winfrey Network is ready to launch January 1, following three years of planning and delays. It will face competition from at least 12 other networks targeting the same female audience, but supporters say it stands out from the rest thanks to, well, Oprah. The Los Angeles Times looks at the network's challenges, most notably that Oprah remains primarily focused on winding down her TV talk show. And that probably won't change until she tapes her last episode in May.
Another, less troublesome, problem: The network will mostly air above channel 200, generally not great in the non-Oprah media world. Still, insiders are optimistic about the biggest cable channel launch in more than 10 years. “There is no network that has ever launched in 80 million homes and with the advantage of the best brand in media, which is Oprah,” says the CEO of Discovery Communications, which owns 50% of the network. “This network is going to work,” says its namesake. “I know what people want."