OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network will now try daytime soap operas.
For more than two decades, Oprah Winfrey’s syndicated show competed -- and worked alongside -- stations airing network soap operas. Now two reviving soaps --- “One Life to Live” and “All My Children” -- will get some rerun action on OWN after their original airplays online.
This isn’t the first time OWN has strayed from what some would think of as the Winfrey brand. OWN already has taken on two Tyler Perry-scripted shows.
Brand building can be an evolving affair for a new cable network.
For sure, well-know brand names can build a network. But as in the early days of the Oprah Winfrey Network, as powerful as her name was, she couldn’t do it all herself. It couldn’t be “The Oprah Winfrey Show’” 24 hours a day. It’s a network -- and that takes a lot of variety.
The early days of A+E, when it was known as the Arts & Entertainment Network, included lots of historical documentaries. Nowadays A&E is about “Duck Dynasty.”
TBS and TNT both used to air lots of off-network, off-theatrical movies. Now they are known for original sitcoms and procedural dramas respectively. Broadcasters have a different brand consciousness; They try to appeal to the widest possible number of viewers. But in these trying TV times, maybe some networks might move out of their programming comfort zone.
Of course, countless cable networks have dumped their whole original premises. The most recent example is News Corp’s swapping out its Speed channel for Fox Sports 1.
What do cable operators think? Some are pissed that Fox can do this. Still with the chance to possibly serve more people, it’s hard to argue with such a change. Evolving one’s TV brand identity within the same structure can do this as well. Sure, networks are looking for niches -- but the bottom line is that they also want to get the most viewers.