Oprah's New Talk Show Notches Lackluster Debut

1.1M tune in, but Winfrey will likely need to boost that audience
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 4, 2012 12:47 PM CST
'Oprah's Next Chapter' Debuts to an Audience of 1.1M on the Oprah Winfrey Network
In this Sept. 21, 2011 photo released by Harpo Inc., Oprah Winfrey and Steven Tyler are shown at Tyler's home in Lake Sunapee, NH during filming for "Oprah's Next Chapter" premiering Jan. 1, 2012.   (AP Photo/Harpo, George Burns)

Oprah's new talk show debuted Sunday night, and just 1.1 million people watched. That may sound like a lot at first—and, in fact, it is the second largest audience for any show on the struggling Oprah Winfrey Network—but not when you consider Winfrey averaged 6.5 million viewers in the last season of her old daytime show, Piers Morgan premiered in Larry King's old slot to an audience of 2.1 million, and the History Channel's Pawn Stars averaged more than 5 million viewers last month.

OWN has long been struggling, leading Oprah to step in as chief executive. "With her coming on, now is the time they will really be judged," an analyst tells the Wall Street Journal. "This is where they will have to prove that an Oprah network is a feasible idea." The debut of Oprah's Next Chapter featured Steven Tyler; as will be typical for the new show, Oprah visited his lakefront house in New Hampshire rather than conducting the interview in a studio. In one particularly disturbing segment noted by WSJ, the pair talked about Tyler making babies. Oprah: "The seed was planted!" (More Oprah Winfrey stories.)

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