Oprah Winfrey is finished with the syndicated talk show she did for so long, and now she wants to get O.J. Simpson to confess to killing his ex-wife to give her new OWN cable television network and its failing ratings a boost.
Tabloids are reporting that Oprah has already secured O.J. Simpson's confession to the murder, but she suggested otherwise when speaking today to an energetic crowd of television industry types at the National Cable & Telecommunications Association convention in Chicago.
An official with Harpo Entertainment, Winfrey's company, has confirmed that O.J. has not confessed to Oprah. Still, she wants it to happen and says the goal is not that lofty.
I have a dream of O.J. confessing to me, Oprah said to the audience, to cheers. And, I am going to make that happen, people. I just don't want the interview. I want the interview on the condition you are ready, Mr. Simpson.
Oprah has said in interviews she has committed everything to launching and making a success of her OWN cable network, the venture she now runs. The network faced a difficult launch in the past year and already the company has experienced changes at the top, as sources say Oprah was unhappy with the direction and the results. Building programming around reality shows, including one about country music mother and daughter duo The Judds, the network has yet to show that it can build and sustain audiences.
But tantilizing the audience with news that she planned to get former professional football star and television celebrity O.J. Simpson to confess to the murder of his ex-wife on the air sent the airwaves, the Internet and media types into a buzz over whether or not she already has the interview secured and if she thinks or knows Simpson will confess to killing Nicole Brown Simpson.
When Winfrey launched OWN network this year she did so with a press conference revealing the adopted sister who had located her and she had claimed. Now, she's hoping to bring attention to the struggling network with hype around her O.J. commitment.
I have committed everything I have to this cable venture, Oprah said, without elaboration. I wouldn't be against me.
OWN is owned by Harpo Productions, Winfrey's company, and Discovery Communications. The network debuted on January 1, 2011 in roughly 80 million homes, or 80 percent of the television households in America. In most areas the network airs on higher tier cable channels, making it difficult to attract viewers in the early stages. Whether or not she gets the O.J. Simpson and confession as she predicted, and tabloids are suggesting is a done deal, remains to be seen.
But the response to her pledge to get O.J. Simpson to interview and confess to her on air achieved what she was looking for - attention for OWN.