Talk-show queen Oprah Winfrey and Discovery Communications said on Tuesday they will build a new cable television network, describing the venture as dedicated to inspiring viewers to "live their best lives."
"OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network" will be owned jointly by Winfrey's Harpo Productions and Discovery. The network will debut in 2009 in more than 70 million U.S. homes, appearing on what is now the Discovery Health Channel.
Winfrey will serve as chairwoman of OWN and have full editorial control over its programming and branding, in a major expansion of her media reach, which already includes a top-rated daytime show on broadcast television, feature films, O, The Oprah Magazine, a satellite radio program and a Web site.
"Fifteen years ago, I wrote in my journal that one day I would create a television network, as I always felt my show was just the beginning of what the future could hold," Winfrey said in a statement.
The companies said it was a cashless deal, but did not disclose other financial details. OWN will also seek a chief executive to oversee day to day operations.
Oprah.com will become part of the new network, which will operate as an independent company. Discovery will handle distribution and operational needs for the new network, while both partners will work on advertising sales.
Discovery Communications is owned by Discovery Holding Co. and Advance/Newhouse Programming, which plan to take the cable network public in the second quarter.
Discovery Holding Class A shares fell 5 cents to $24.65 in early-afternoon trading.