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Posted at 10:30 AM ET, 01/16/2008

The Oprah-fication of America

By Liz Kelly

Oprah's on! And on and on and on... (Getty Images)

Okay, we've talked about Oprah Winfrey here before. And either you people are humoring my distaste for the doyenne of daytime or the average Celebritology reader is so far out of the mainstream you'd send Bobby Trendy into cardiac arrest.

What has inspired my doubt, you ask? The continued creep of Winfrey's influence into popular culture. Someone -- a lot of someones -- it seems, is watching, emulating, buying. How else to explain O's unchecked sprawl into TV, satellite radio, film, magazines, books, Broadway and politics?

The latest front in this woman's seemingly unstoppable ubiquity is cable television. Discovery networks yesterday announced the creation of OWN -- the Oprah Winfrey Network, set to launch next year in approximately 70 million homes in America. From the AP story:

Winfrey envisions the programming dealing with issues such as money, health, weight, relationships and raising children. Some of the stable of in-house experts she uses on "Oprah" and the XM satellite radio station might be expected to contribute.

Meaning 24/7 Dr. Phil reruns (her current contract prevents her from showing her own reruns on cable) and yet another medium in which perennial Oprah lady-in-waiting Gayle King will be foisted upon us. What's worse, OWN will replace Discovery Health network -- taking with shows like "Mystery Diagnosis," "Medical Incredible" (this week, a baby born with no skin!), "Plastic Surgery: Before & After" and the always fun special programming, like Sunday's upcoming "The Smallest People in the World."

Thanks, nameless, faceless O fans. You know who you are.

By Liz Kelly  | January 16, 2008; 10:30 AM ET
Categories:  Celebrities, Oprah Winfrey, TV  
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