Title: Oprah's Next Chapter
Host: Oprah Winfrey
Format: One-hour, intimate interview. With its host outside a studio, the show is different than most.
Network: Airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network
Premiere Date: January 1, 2012
Originates From: All over the world
After 25 years in studio interviewing celebrities, newsmakers, politicians, and everyday people from all walks of life on The Oprah Winfrey Show, world famous talk show host Oprah Winfrey decided that her next venture should take her out of the studio and into the world of her interview subjects.
"I am having more fun than ever - moving around the country and the world talking to people I'm really interested in getting to know and I think viewers will be, too," said Oprah in a press release issued in mid-November 2011. "It is so energizing to be out and about in the world exploring new people, new places and new ideas."
The first episode premiered on January 1, 2012, with Aerosmith front man Steven Tyler. Oprah visited with the rock star in his New Hampshire home. The out-and-about sets the tone for how the first season - and subsequent seasons - will unfold. Oprah takes a tour of Tyler's home and his hometown, gets to know his friends and family, and sits in a space that presents the character of her interviewees. It also provides Oprah with a chance to make her subjects more comfortable and more open to discussing intimate details of their lives.
For example, sitting down with Tyler, Winfrey asks him and his girlfriend of seven years, and former Aerosmith accountant, if it's possible to be monogamous with a rock star.
Tyler's girlfriend responds, "I told him, 'I'm going to play,' if that's cool with you," forcing him to consider things from the other side. Tyler answers Oprah by telling her that it is possible to be a rock star and be monogamous, admitting that he went through a lot of divorces and hurt a lot of girls emotionally - and that he doesn't want to do it again.
Future episodes include visits with George Lucas and the stars of Red Tails, a film about the Tuskegee Airmen that focuses less on the racial aspects of their squadron and more on the missions they served. And Oprah catches catfish in her pajamas with Paula Deen and Gayle King at her Savannah, Ga., home.
But the show won't focus solely on celebrities, though they play a large part in the program. She also fire-walks with Tony Robbins and celebrates the power of God and community with Joel Osteen. She'll visit Haiti with Sean Penn and travel to a small town in Iowa devoted to the practice of Transcendental Meditation.
"I sat at the dinner table with a Hasidic Jewish family and tried to explain to the children who have never seen a television what TV is ... can you imagine?" Oprah says in her press release.
A lot is riding on Oprah's Next Chapter. Since its debut in January 2011, OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network has struggled to gain ground with audiences. The first two CEOs of the network resigned amidst struggles and poor ratings. Today, Oprah acts as CEO and leader of the fledging channel.
Shows destined to make a splash, like The Rosie Show and The Gayle King Show, have only made ratings ripples. And in the case of Gayle King, the show has already gone off the air, after its host (and Oprah's best friend) took a job as co-host of CBS's The Early Show.
The hope - and perhaps expectation - is that Oprah's return to television on a regular basis will pull in her core audience. And that audiences who haven't discovered OWN's other programming will do so through Oprah's Next Chapter.