BY MEG JAMES
Discovery Communications is paying $70 million to take a majority interest in OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network.
OWN had been a joint venture between Winfrey and Discovery. But the deal, announced Monday, increases Discovery’s ownership stake in the basic cable channel to nearly 75 percent.
The transaction is the first time that Discovery has made a cash payment to Winfrey’s company, Harpo, since the two parties struck their joint venture a decade ago. The channel itself launched in 2011.
Winfrey will continue as CEO of the network and work exclusively for OWN in the basic cable space through 2025.
Winfrey now appears as a special correspondent on CBS’ “60 Minutes.”
Despite early struggles, OWN has become the top-rated network for African-American women with such popular series as “Queen Sugar,” and “Greenleaf.” The network has benefited from its relationships with producer Tyler Perry and producer-director Ava DuVernay.
Discovery is in the process of acquiring Scripps Network Interactive, which owns such women-oriented channels as HGTV and Food Network.