The Jan. 1, 2011 launch of OWN, the Oprah Winfrey Network, will be a bittersweet event for some of us. You see, some people have never known a time without “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” and the debut of OWN signals the final stretch of the daily talk show that waits on our DVR for us every day until we get home from work.
The prospect of Oprah going off the air – even to launch a network – is a little bit terrifying. It’s like trying to imagine a world without running water or color television or Starbucks or Tom Cruise.
So, like many of you, we’ll be glued to the television on Day One of OWN. But we’ve got some rather high demands. If OWN is going to fill the cavernous void that “The Oprah Winfrey Show’s” cancelation is sure to leave in our hearts, there are some things we’ll need OWN to provide.
1. We’ll need to see Oprah yelling. We don’t really care what she’s yelling about, exactly, but the sound of her voice hollering out Very! Exciting! Thiiiiiiings! is like a lullaby to us. It’s soothing. We need it.
2. Celebrities crying. This is just obvious. The reason Oprah is one of the best interviewers from here to Saturn is because she’s not afraid to ask the hard questions or to hold people accountable for their misbehavior. Celebs who are used to being coddled and ego-stroked through interviews suddenly become deer in the headlights as they sit on Oprah’s comfy couch surrounded by ladies dressed up in their best daytime finery. We don’t care how, or why, but celebrities better cry on OWN. Regularly. Bonus points if it happens on day one, with “Oprah Presents: Master Class.” The first celeb featured is Jay-Z. Cry, Jay-Z, cry.
3. Books. Oprah’s book club was revolutionary. People on television? Talking about reading? The nerve! But despite our skepticism, Oprah’s book picks never let us down. Okay, maybe except for that one guy whose whole life was a lie, but it was still fun to watch Oprah yell at him for making her look foolish. Yell, Oprah. Yell. Hopefully OWN can continue to provide us with flawless recommendations. Otherwise we may be doomed to spend the rest of our lives re-reading the “Harry Potter” series. It never lets us down, okay?
4. Crazy people (the good kind). Okay, so we could have said “Extraordinary People” or “Revolutionary People,” but when it comes down to it, Oprah just has a knack for choosing the right kind of crazy. For example, OWN will feature a show called “Miracle Detectives” about a scientist and a “believer” traveling the world to investigate the unexplainable. Crazy good.
5. Crazy people (the bad kind). This probably makes us a little crazy, but some of the most memorable episodes of “The Oprah Winfrey Show” were the ones that featured creeps. Oprah interviewed serial killers, pedophiles, and sadists fearlessly, without sugar-coating and mostly without obvious bias. Hate to say it, but it was fascinating, and at times horrifying, and it made us appreciate the non-crazy in our lives.
7. Crazy people (the famous kind). From Tom Cruise jumping on couches to Kirstie Alley scrubbing toilets to Angie Harmon peeking at corpses as she researches forensics for “Rizzoli and Isles”, Oprah never failed to show us a new side of people we see all over the news and the television every day. We love that OWN seems to be focusing on regular people, but… Oprah can’t be the only rich and famous person on there. Bring on the crazy movie stars, please.
8. Presents! We love Oprah all the time, but we love her best when she’s giving stuff away. Trips to Australia, SkyMall brownie pans with lots of edges – we love it all. She’s off to a good start, giving one unknown his or her very OWN show (get it?) but the presents can’t stop there. We think that after every commercial break, Oprah should jump out and
say yell “And you get EVERYTHING! THAT! WAS JUST! ADVERTIIIIIISED!” to some random on a Chicago street.
What are your expectations for OWN? Will you miss “The Oprah Winfrey Show” as much as we will? (Like a limb. We will miss it like you’d miss a limb.)