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I’m With You, Oprah: Why Settle for “Potent” When You’ve Got a Shot at “Potentate”?

November 20, 2009

Today’s big news: Oprah Winfrey is checking out of her syndicated daytime talk show in 2011 after her 25th season comes to a close.

However, lest you think she’s just going to sit back and count her $2.7 billion fortune, today’s announcement is likely to be followed by the news that she will launch a cable network, fittingly dubbed The Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN). The article linked above provides more details on how OWN will reach approximately 75 million households upon its launch. Nice to see that the cable TV business operates on such a level playing field—as long as you’re a billionaire, you’ve got as great shot at starting a successful network! Don’t believe the naysayers—the American Dream is alive and well.

All sarcasm aside, I’m generally on Oprah’s side, despite her occasional kookery. Her life story does bring the American Dream out of the realm of fantasy, where it remains for most folks, and into rather inspiring reality.

And I think it’s awesome that she’s cashing out the show that bears her name and will likely trade up to a freakin’ network named Oprah. Why settle for being merely potent in syndication when she can rule over an entire cable kingdom? It’s Oprah’s world (I don’t think it’s an accident that her network will be called OWN)…we’re merely paying rent.

I’d like to take this opportunity to encourage Ms. Mogul to strive for nothing less than 24-hour Oprah-centric programming on OWN. At least at first, the most efficient way to reach this goal will be to adapt existing programming to fit the new “all Oprah, all the time” mantra. A few ideas to get started:

1. The Oprazing Race. Just as on the CBS hit, pairs of whiny 20-somethings traverse the globe and compete to see who can finish the journey first. But on the Oprahfied version, their challenges will all be geared toward procuring rare, crazy trinkets for Oprah from around the world: the back tooth of an all-black Albanian cat, an Alan Keyes for President campaign button, a pair of crotchless panties that say “My parents went to Utah, and all I got were these lousy crotchless panties,” etc.

2. Queen of Queens. In the first episode of this traditional half-hour sitcom, Oprah buys the entire New York borough of Queens. Her first act: demolishing Kevin James’ character’s house after he gives her a sideways look and WHOOPS, the entire family is still inside!! Patton Oswalt’s character then rises to become the focus of the show and it actually becomes, you know, funny.

3. The Biggest Loser, Oprah edition. With great intensity of focus, Oprah signs up for her own version of the popular network weight-loss program. She loses 24 pounds during the season. Her accomplishment looks even more impressive when compared to that of her competitors, who have been forced to double their calorie intake so that Oprah’s weight loss will reign supreme.

4. CSI: Oprah’s House. A grimacing, scene-chewing Tom Berenger leads a team of crime scene investigators as they determine whether it was Steadman or a staff member who left Oprah’s toilet seat up. The episode guest stars Tony Danza, who plays  Oprah’s housekeeper and gives a riveting performance featuring such lines as, “Ay-oh, Oh-ay!” Actually, that’s Danza’s only line. And that’s just the first thrilling episode. During sweeps week, the team explores and tries to solve a tremendous jewelry heist from Oprah’s estate, one that knocks her net worth all the way down to $2.697 billion.

5. The O.C. (Oprah County). With the promise of big paychecks, Oprah’s producers lure every star of The Hills, even Spencer Pratt, to star in a a real version of their fictional show. The title “Oprah County” refers to Winfrey’s role as sort of the “sheriff” who rules over the clan of spoiled brats with an iron fist worthy of the warden in Cool Hand Luke. She forces 20-hour work days on the grounds of her estate and, one by one, Heidi, Audrina, and the gang actually die from overwork. At the conclusion of season 1 of The O.C., Oprah will sweep the Emmys and be lauded for the tremendous public service she has performed. How will she top that in Season 2? One word: Kardashians.

[Speaking of “season 2,” in the second year of OWN’s operations, execs should spin off Danza’s housekeeper character from CSI: Oprah’s House and give him his own gender-role-reversal show with Oprah as the homeowner. The show will of course be titled “You Know Who the Boss Is, Biatch!”]

2 Comments
  1. Tony Mendocino permalink
    November 20, 2009 7:20 pm

    Will we get a remake of “Animal House”, starring Dave Letterman as president of some ragtag fraternity called Uma Oprah Uma?

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