Honestly – how many people have their own television network (literally called OWN?) The most influential television talk show host of the past half-century now has an entire channel to bring to the masses, full of big names like Rosie O’Donnell, Gayle King and Phil McGraw. By all rights, it should be an even more powerful extension of the daytime powerhouse she built up over three decades on the air.
However, it doesn’t seem like it’s all gone to plan. The OWN network has been plagued by low ratings and turmoil on the executive level; the network’s CEO was replaced last year and Oprah herself recently had an embarrassing Tweet pleading for Nielsen ratings.
With all that turmoil, let’s hope that the most recent news of her considering a return to films proves true. According to some reports, Oprah might join the cast of infinitely talented Precious helmer’s new feature, “The Butler” – the story of an African-American man who served as a White House butler for eight different administrations. Winfrey would have the plum role as the butler’s wife.
Winfrey rose to such prominence as a talk show host that it’s very easy to forget that she is a talented actress, as well – witness her marvelous turn as Sofia in Spielberg’s 1985 film version of The Color Purple or her searing role as Sethe in Jonathan Demme’s shame fully underrated and overlooked Toni Morrison adaptation, Beloved. She even earned one of the scores of Academy Award nominations from The Color Purple, receiving one for Best Supporting Actress.
It would be a fine move for Oprah to move back into cinemas – letting the people of America embrace her fine acting talent again, and providing a nice boost of publicity for the OWN Network. The Butler would be a great step back onto the silver screen for one of the world’s most influential figures.