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Posted at 05:13 PM ET, 07/29/2011

Summer TV Press Tour 2011: Oprah to host ‘The Oprah Class’ on Oprah Winfrey Network


Oprah Winfrey (George Burns - AP)

Oprah Winfrey and Discovery Communications will attempt to goose the ratings on their OWN network with – Oprah.

Oprah herself will host “OWN Your Life: The Oprah Class,” which will become a key part of the struggling network’s lineup, kicking off its primetime at 8 p.m., Monday through Friday, starting in October.

“The Oprah Class” will take the nearly 5,000 episodes of syndicated “Oprah” show and slice and dice them into “classes” -- about such Oprah-esque subjects as: raising children, divorce, and forgiveness.

Oprah surprised TV critics, reporters and bloggers at Summer TV Press Tour 2011 when she showed up Friday to introduce Rosie O’Donnell, but really to pitch “The Oprah Class.”

When they originally thought of putting the “Oprah” library on the network, it was envisioned as just showing old episodes, under the name “Oprah’s Encore,” Oprah explained.

But one day, Oprah said, she was standing in one of the kitchens of one of her homes, “and thought about This Moment, and realized that this is a dream come true for me -- having this platform,” she said.

“Years ago, there was a story in USA Today about The World’s Biggest Classroom. It was one of a few articles I’ve saved over the years and I put it literally on my Vision Board. Because I wanted to embrace the idea of creating The World’s Biggest Classroom.”

And that’s how the idea of “The Oprah Class” was born, to “teach people, how to live their best lives,” and “magnify and deepen the potential of that library,” she said.

Her friends, Oprah noted, have been telling her since her syndicates show ended in May that they hope she is “enjoying her time on the Mediterranean.”

“I’m not. I’m here, in the office, at budget meetings, and marketing meetings, and talking about how to strategize and make this network everything it can be to fulfill the potential of the vision.”

Earlier this month Oprah was named CEO at OWN, replacing Christina Norman, who was shown the door in May because of low ratings. Then, she named Sheri Salata and Erik Logan, execs at her Harpo company, new co-presidents of OWN.

“The Oprah Class” will be paired with “Rosie” and both will debut Oct. 10. Rosie came to the tour to talk about her new show. While the network’s is “aspirational,” Rosie says her job is to entertain and be funny. Nobody, she speculated, says to themselves, “Oh, if I could only be Rosie O’Donnell: an overweight lesbian who yells too much.”

And, like every other Q&A session at Summer TV Press Tour 2011 so far, Rosie fielded absolutely no tough questions, actually thanking the press at the end for neglecting to ask her any questions about Donald Trump or Barbara Walters.

By  |  05:13 PM ET, 07/29/2011

 
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