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Thanks to OWN, I now live, breathe and dream Oprah Winfrey. Yes, I dream about her. And that's because I now have the mogul herself, or at least shows inspired by her, on TV around the clock.
Ever since the Oprah Winfrey Network debuted on Jan. 1, I've been stuck on my couch with my eyes glued to the TV set. I've even been late to work because I can't get myself to turn off the tube. Oprah has hooked me. And I like it.
The queen of talk kicked off her new network with sneak peeks of some of her new shows. I knew I would love Season 25: Oprah Behind the Scenes, the inside look at what goes on at Harpo Studios. After all, if you're a fan of Oprah, who wouldn't want more of the show? Plus, viewers are exposed to a different side of Oprah -- the tough boss who causes grown men to cower. I was convinced, however, that I'd find the rest of the OWN lineup cheesy. But I was wrong.
Take, for example, Searching For..., about a genealogist who helps people track down their loved ones. I figured this would be a show that I could fast-forward through, but within minutes of starting the first episode, I was weeping. It's impossible to start a show about a man looking for his birth father and turn it off without learning if he finds his dad and if he does, how his dad reacts. You have to keep watching, and Oprah knows that.
The network is based on Oprah's motto of "live your best life," and Master Class features celebrities talking about what makes them masters of their craft. The documentary-like show's first episode featured Jay-Z. It doesn't matter if you like the hip-hop king or know his music (which, I'll admit, I'm clueless about) -- it got to the heart of what makes him tick. After watching the episode, I even heard myself later saying, "You can't let fear stop you from trying things." I never speak like that. Even my boyfriend (see, even men can watch OWN!) was captivated by Master Class because it sheds light on how people got to the top -- and who doesn't want to learn those tips? The unique mix of stars featured -- from Simon Cowell to author Maya Angelou (Oprah's hero) to Saturday Night Live creator Lorne Michaels -- also has my interest piqued for future episodes.
Of course, as Oprah always says on her talk show, she doesn't want viewers to just be voyeurs of other people's lives -- she wants people to take something away from their stories. So Kidnapped by the Kids -- in which children of workaholic parents kidnap them from their work-- is an obvious conversation-starter for families. How do parents explain to kids that they have to be out of the house because they're making money to feed them? How do you make more time for your kids? How do you create a successful work-life balance?
Winfrey knows what makes good TV. That's why she's been No. 1 for 25 years. And now her idea of what viewers should watch -- entertaining programming that actually betters its viewers -- is on our television sets around the clock. Who doesn't want to laze around watching TV while simultaneously feeling like they're becoming a better person? I loved Oprah before, but now I'm officially an Oprah addict (and am waiting for Intervention to do an episode about me).
Of course, there is one caveat: Not all 24 hours of OWN programming are fantastic. The other day I decided to check out the network one last time before bed. A Dr. Phil rerun was playing. I'll try not to hold it against her.
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