Oprah Winfrey/Discovery channel will travel

Discovery’s plans to take its joint venture channel with US talk show host Oprah Winfrey to international markets after it launches on the US cable network next year.

Discovery and Oprah announced yesterday they were teaming to launch the Oprah Winfrey Network – OWN – in the US from next year. An international launch will follow.

"We think we’ll get a warm response from advertisers and distributors domestically and internationally," Discovery president and CEO David Zaslav said.

In 2009, Discovery’s US-based lifestyle channel Discovery Health will be rebranded as OWN and carry programmes created by Oprah’s production company, Harpo Studios.

The channel could feature Winfrey’s syndicated talk show The Oprah Winfrey Show, now available in 134 countries, when exclusivity contracts end in 2011 – although Winfrey has talked about ending the show at that point.

Oprah was previously an investor in the Oxygen network but subsequently pulled out. "I was not a participant in the development of the channel," she said. "Here [at OWN] I have editorial control."

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