Oprah is sorry for begging Nielsen viewers to watch her flailing network

I don’t know how much interest there will be in this story, but I like talking about Oprah and wanted to cover it. As you probably know, Oprah’s new OWN network is really tanking in the ratings. Everyone thought Oprah could pull it off because she’s Oprah but not many people are watching OWN. Oprah launched a new talkshow last month in which she interviews celebrities, similar to what she was doing on her syndicated show, and it did boost ratings comparatively, but she’s still struggling to make her network a success.

I get that channel, and I tried for about 20 minutes to watch two different episodes of the Shania Twain “reality show.” It was mind-numbingly boring and featured Shania talking at length about how she was putting the pieces back together and challenging herself to grow after she got cheated on and split with her husband. Shania’s story has all the elements of a fascinating one: her husband shacked up with the secretary who also happened to be her best friend, and the secretary’s hot husband clued her in on it. Shania subsequently busted her husband and then married the secretary’s husband, who was a definite trade-up, looks wise. She also trashed the other woman publicly. Still, the Oprah special on Shania made it seem really dull and repetitive all about self actualization.

Oprah has expressed her disdain at the Real Housewives shows, but her people are struggling to produce programs that are consistently interesting. Granted the RH shows take it way too far, but Oprah just seems unable to sensationalize beyond pushing her self actualization line. Her vision is a network through which we better ourselves, but a constant diet of that is boring, and her viewership is reflecting that.

Anyway Oprah needs to make “Oprah’s Next Chapter” (close the book) popular and she seems a little desperate to promote it. She tweeted that Nielsen watchers should tune in so that her ratings would improve. Then she realized she shouldn’t have written that and apologized, sort-of:

Oprah Winfrey found herself embroiled in a Twitter furore and offered an apology Monday after she took to the microblogging site a day earlier urging her fans — especially Nielsen households — to watch her struggling cable channel OWN instead of the Grammy Awards.

“Every 1 who can please turn to OWN especially if u have a Nielsen box,” the former talk show host tweeted to more than nine million followers Sunday, just before her new interview show “Oprah’s Next Chapter” started, Entertainment Weekly reported.

While some tweeted their thanks to Winfrey for the reminder, the overwhelming response was negative, with readers criticizing Oprah for “begging for viewers” and being “desperate.”

A defiant Winfrey defended herself, writing in a series of tweets, “The word ‘please’ is used as courtesy not a beg … ‘desperate’ not ever a part of my vocab … ‘unethical’ a little harsh don’t u think? Seemed like it made sense to me. Sorry if u’re offended.”

However, on Monday morning, Winfrey issued a statement saying, “I removed the tweet at the request of Nielsen. I intended no harm and apologize for the reference.”

According to the New York Times, the apology came after Nielsen and OWN executives corresponded Monday morning.

Nielsen measures TV viewership by a sample of about 25,000 households across the country. Networks are not allowed to appeal to Nielsen viewers directly or attempt to influence their viewing habits.
“It is Nielsen’s policy to note attempts to single out panel members to either change their viewing habits or otherwise influence or affect their reporting,” Nielsen spokesman, Matt Anchin, said in an email.

The company said that it would attach an asterisk to OWN’s ratings at the time of Winfrey’s tweet, with a note stating that the figures may have been the result of a “possible biasing effect.”
Ironically, Winfrey was among the 39.9 million people who watched the Grammys on Sunday night.

The Times, citing Winfrey’s executive producer, Sheri Salata, said that the Atlanta hotel the pair were staying in did not carry OWN, and five minutes after the Nielsen tweet, during a Grammys commercial break, Winfrey wrote, “Grammy people..u can turn to OWN.”

[From MY Fox DC]

When even Oprah gets into trouble on Twitter, you know that it’s not a good idea for celebrities to tweet unsupervised and unedited. Whatever meager ratings Oprah’s show got on Sunday will be tainted by her tweet, but according to Oprah she’s not “desperate” and it wasn’t “unethical” to ask Nielsen people to tune in.

I used to like Oprah, but I think she got too far up her own butt and lost touch with what is popular and interesting. I like when Oprah helps people with their lives, but she’s like medicine: best taken in small doses.

Oprah will air a special on Whitney Houston on Thursday. Oprah scored the first interview with Whitney during her alleged sobriety and brief comeback in 2009. At that time Whitney admitted to smoking crack and marijunana during her marriage to Bobby Brown and said “I wasn’t getting high by myself. It was me and him together. We were partners.” The special on Whitney could be interesting.

Oprah will also air a two hour Oscar special on Wednesday featuring Octavia Spencer, Viola Davis and Jonah Hill.

Oprah is shown at the Jaipur Literature Festival in India on 1-22-12. Credit: Solarpix, PacificCoastNews.com. She’s also shown on 5-3-11 at the Illinois Broadcasters Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. Credit: Daniel Locke / PR Photos

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39 Responses to “Oprah is sorry for begging Nielsen viewers to watch her flailing network”

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  1. Asli says:

    Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

    • laylajanelovesgossip says:

      I LOVE you Oprah!!But I have no idea if I have a Nielsen box or not…

    • D. says:

      I wouldn’t worry about her. A $2.4 billion net worth really tends to soften one’s landings.

    • smith says:

      “Tainted by her Tweet” is my new favorite sentence. I will use it as often as possible.

    • aprayerforthewildatheart says:

      Her apology was passive aggressive, she made sure people knew she took her tweet down because Nielson asked her to, not due to people’s reactions. Like they were below her standard, yet these were the same people she was asking to tune in…

  2. Bite me says:

    Oh my… Who the heck was going to watch her watered down chicken soup for the soul channel…

  3. call_in says:


  4. TheOriginalVictoria says:

    My problem with Oprah is her smug know-it-all attitude and her trying to use her influence to change the nature of a faith by incorporating her New Age beliefs with that of the Judaic-Christian faith.

    For all the good she has done, I wish she would sit the f down. I am proud of her accomplishments as a black woman, but she really takes things too far sometimes with her self-importance.

    That being said, I don’t own CABLE television. It’s another thing you don’t need to pay for if you have the internet and shows thankfully now come out on DVD.

    • jinni says:

      “…her trying to use her influence to change the nature of a faith by incorporating her New Age beliefs with that of the Judaic-Christian faith.”

      Well, if you look at the history of Christianity incorporating other beliefs into the traditional canon is nothing new. Look at how the Catholic church added and transformed pagan holidays (ex. Easter, aspects of Christmas, etc)into holy days that now are considered completely Christian and many don’t care or know about there pagan origins.

      • TheOriginalKitten says:

        @Jinni-Norse Yuletide 🙂

      • TheOriginalVictoria says:

        Well being a Jew for Jesus I don’t identify with that. I get your point, but that was not my point. I practice my “Christianity” from a Jewish standpoint, so we don’t mess with the pagan practices of Catholicism. Nor does Church of God I grew up in which is non denomenational, we don’t really bang with that either. There is even debate about celebrating Christmas during the Solstice and recognizing Christ’s birth in March to fall in line with Resurrection Day (we don’t call it Easter).

        But there are also a lot of misconceptions about what was pagan first and what wasn’t.

    • TheOriginalKitten says:

      @ TheOriginalVictoria-I haven’t had cable in 15 years and I don’t miss it ONE BIT!

    • Embee says:

      Oprah’s not trying to change the nature of a faith, she is trying to get people to treat themeselves and one another with compassion and generosity.

      Anyone who is doing that is a-ok in my book.

  5. jc126 says:

    I thought OWN wouldn’t be successful; too much Oprah’s friends, not enough Oprah. Plus, it’s not even in high-def.

  6. jinni says:

    The only thing good about that channel are: Lisa Ling’s documentary shows and Unfaithful. These are the only two show I watch on that channel because everything else is just a bunch of re-run crap shows by Oprah’s friends. Besides, I ‘m still pissed off that they gave her Discovery Health Channel instead of a brand new channel. DHC was one of my favorite channels and now because of Oprah I would have to upgrade my satellite package (which I can’t afford to do) to get it; it changed it’s name to Discovery Fitness and Health.

  7. dorothy#1 says:

    I would probably watch but we don’t have cable. It is too freaking expensive.

    I really like her though and I think the comments on her twitter were a bit harsh. I also love Rosie and wish I could watch. 🙂 how is her show doing?

  8. atorontogal says:

    Not surprised…never liked her or bought into her hyperbowl!

  9. Dee Cee says:

    the thrill is gone.. it’s gone away for good..

  10. Day says:

    For people who don’t have cable, take it from someone who does and is in the process of canceling it: Don’t bother. I have TWC with the box. All the channel basically repeat themselves. It’s a waste of money.

    Anyway, the problem w/Oprah’s channel is the simply fact that it is boring. She needs better shows. It seems like to me those should have been lined up BEFORE debuting the network. And, I also tried to watch the Shania show because she is one of my favorite country singers. But, like you said, it was BORING.

  11. kells-bells says:

    I just started watching ” Oprah’s Master Class,” (the Morgan Freeman & Laird Hamilton episodes were incredibly inspiring) and I’ve watched “Oprah’s Next Chapter,” both are good shows. I caught Rosie’s 2 part interview with Kathy Griffin and that was really good. I’d like to see OWN succeed because I like to have variety to choose from. I’m not a fan of the THe Bachelor or American Idol and I like that OWN airs different programing, including documentaries.
    When I come home from work and give up precious free time to watch the “idiot box,” I either want to laugh or learn.
    I don’t give a crap about her deleted tweet – SO WHAT.
    We are making a federal case over a deleted tweet, yet no one seems to care that Chris Brown was back on the Grammy’s a few years after beating up Rhianna or that CLive Davis hosted his Pre Grammy Party while Whitney was dead fours floors above.

    • Kiyoshigirl says:

      Wow. I didn’t know that. Clive was all about Whitney a few years ago when he had a stake in the game, right? That’s really sad. You’d think he would have wondered why she was a no show? Maybe he was fed up with her problems and had long since moved on, but still, that’s sad.

      • LAK says:

        @Kiyoshigirl – it wasn’t a case of Clive Davis finding out that she was a no show. She died Late afternoon and the party was that evening. At The same hotel. With her body upstairs.

        He started the party shenanigans by giving a speech about Whitney, saying she wouldn’t have minded because his party was always important to her…..

    • Holly Hobby says:

      There are reports that Clive Davis personally financed her album, when no other company would put up money on her. He also helped her sober up during that time.

      Word is also out that Whitney was borrowing money from Clive for her day to day expenses (she was near bankruptcy).

      I would say that he had more than monetary interest in her.

      I’m not going to judge why he had the party without her. Some people just do not think straight when something this shocking happens.

  12. Julie says:

    You summed it perfectly: I used to like Oprah, but I think she got too far up her own butt and lost touch with what is popular and interesting. I like when Oprah helps people with their lives, but she’s like medicine: best taken in small doses. I knew something with her bothered me even though I liked her.

    • Jackson says:

      ITA with that summary as well. Back in the day she used to be interesting and informative. She seemed very ‘real.’ I think her mega-success changed her and not for the better. She’s just another celebrity now.

  13. oxa says:

    One of the reasons people are not watching is because her channel is on a tier that costs extra and people wont or cant afford to pay for it.

  14. dee says:

    Unfortunately for Oprah, all those homemakers that were watching her show all those years have finally come to their senses, after making her a multi millionaire. She is as phony as a three dollar bill. I can honestly say I have never watch her show. My life is more important that keeping up with her or the Kardashing or any other phony people.

  15. Kiyoshigirl says:

    I don’t think OWN will ever meet its original goals sticking with the current format. Soon they’ll slowly tweak this and tweak that until their programming begins to look like every other cable channel. One problem from the onset is that OWN didn’t know what it wanted to be other than “uplifting” and “educational”. There’s already dozens of cable channels that provide the same. Her new talk show is an attempt to reclaim what she had at ABC, but I think it’s a little too late to recapture her target audience. Also, the homemakers who religiously watched her show have now either gone back to work or threw away their integrity a long, long time ago and now watch Bravo 24/7. Once you get sucked into that yit there’s no coming back to “quality” television.

  16. Emma says:

    Could someone explain what a Nielsen box is, and who Nielsen viewers are, for those of us outside the US? Is it a polling company that tracks audience numbers? Why is it advantageous to have Nielsen viewers rather than any other type? Don’t think we have an equivalent in the UK so bit confused!

  17. ccoop says:

    Oh guuuuuuurl, do not let anyone take photos of you crossing your legs while wearing sausage-pants.

  18. wunder says:

    Success definitely changed Oprah, and not for the better!

  19. Camille (The original) says:

    I’m not an Oprah fan so this made me LOL.

  20. Nan209 says:

    I looked forward to her leaving TV when she announced in 2009 that she retiring the show. I was disgusted when I found out she bought my fav medical network and was going pack it full of crap I’ve been avoiding since 1995 (that is when I realizes that she was crawling up her own butt and didn’t have people around her who would tell her no). I’m relieved her network is failing…maybe the damn thing can go away. Who the hell needs Oprah 24/7?

  21. kim says:

    I haven’t seen Oprah’s face in years until now. I didn’t even know she was ending her oprah show until my mom told me, so to hear that her network is failing . . . not really surprising. I think the media keeps her alive more than her fans do obviously.

    I just never liked Oprah since I was little and heard her say that she has been a celebrity of one form or another since the age of 19 and had special treatment. Then she would turn around and play a poor whoa is me act, like she was just a regular lady like anyone.

    no she sucks glad to see her network going down.

  22. Firecracker says:

    I can’t stand her and I’ve never watched that network, even though I can.

  23. Shamozzle says:

    Bitch needs to go retire on a secluded island. We’ve been tortured with her verbal diarrhea and paperbag needing head for far too long!!

  24. Christelle says:

    I would watch it, but every time I tune in it’s just reruns.