Each day, Oprah Winfrey will keep the cameras rolling at the end of her syndicated daytime talk show to create a new series for Oxygen.
In exchange for providing the primetime series Oprah After the Show, Winfrey will reclaim Oxygen's rights to reruns of The Oprah Winfrey Show. The fledgling women's network — which has registered miniscule ratings and could use a breakout show — was slated to air those repeats starting this fall.
Instead, Oxygen will launch the nightly Oprah After the Show
on Sept. 16. The half-hour series will air at 7:30 p.m. on weeknights, with replays at 10 p.m., 11:30 p.m. and 8:30 a.m. the next day. Oxygen will air 145 episodes of the show.
Oprah After the Show
will film each day after the Oprah Winfrey
taping in Chicago. She'll chat with her studio audience, and sometimes with the guest from the daytime program.
"It's a very simple idea: Oprah wanting to continue the party, and we're happy that's she going to continue it on Oxygen," Oxygen chairman and CEO Geraldine Laybourne said. "Oprah puts on her television show, and when she is on stage she gets completely jazzed up, she actually doesn't ever want the show to end."
Winfrey, who owns 25 percent of Oxygen, pitched the new series, according to Laybourne. When Winfrey first invested in Oxygen, she agreed to give the network exclusive rights to her talk show, a move she told Fortune
magazine she regretted.
She lamented the fact she had "given away" rights to her daytime talk show, which she described as "my soul."
In touting the new, "fresh" show, Laybourne said women who work during the day would now have a chance to see Winfrey on Oxygen at night.
"As we've gone through the country doing focus groups, there is a whole population of working women who would love to be able to see Oprah in primetime," Laybourne said. "And that's what we're going to enable, because it airs at 7:30 and again at 10 p.m."
Oxygen plans to use the time slot after the 10 p.m. rebroadcast of Oprah After the Show
to debut a new original strip, she said.
Winfrey has produced a tape of her new show for advertisers, and Oxygen has already struck a few upfront deals.
"Advertisers are sticking with us," Laybourne said. "They really want to have alternatives, and they like the fact that we're getting a younger audience and that we have this brand that's fresh, original, intelligent."
Winfrey has made two prior series for Oxygen, Oprah Goes Online
and Use Your Life.