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Oprah Winfrey Cable Network to Debut Saturday

Oprah Winfrey’s television network debuts tomorrow, with programming hand-picked by the talk show host “to help people be their best self,” according to the cable channel’s chief executive officer.

OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network is billing itself as “the network of self-discovery, connecting people to each other and to their greatest potential.”

The Los Angeles-based network will be available in about 85 million households, replacing Discovery Health Channel on cable and satellite systems.

Its core audience will be women between the ages of 25 and 54, but it won’t be “male repellent,” CEO Christina Norman told City News Service.

“These stories of transformation are as relevant to men are they are to women,” Norman said. “We wanted to make sure men saw themselves on this network.”

Norman said programs with appeal to men include:

— “Oprah Presents Master Class,” where eight celebrities share their greatest lessons. The subject of Saturday’s episode is the rapper Jay-Z;

— “Your OWN Show: Oprah’s Search For the Next TV Star,” a competition series premiering Friday where the winner gets his or her show on the network; and

— “In the Bedroom with Dr. Laura Berman,” where Berman “makes house calls to help troubled couples uncover what’s really going on between the sheets,” according to the network’s publicity materials.

“We want everyone to see themselves reflected and to feel if there’s a place for them here at OWN,” Norman said.

Winfrey “picked every show” on the network, with some based on her ideas, Norman said.

She will appear on several of them, including “Season 25: Oprah Behind the Scenes,” a weekly look at the making of the final season of her syndicated talk show, which premieres Saturday.

In the fall, Winfrey will host “Oprah’s Next Chapter,” a talk show which will take her out of the studio. The network will also air reruns of “The Oprah Winfrey Show” beginning in the fall, with updates on the participants.

The network’s other premieres this month include “The Gayle King Show,” a live daily talk show starring Winfrey’s best friend, and mixing celebrity interviews with examinations of current events and cultural trends;

“Cristina Ferrare’s Big Bowl of Love,” a cooking series; and “Enough Already! with Peter Walsh,” where the organizational expert helps families eliminate clutter in their homes.

Shows featuring Ryan and Tatum O’Neal, Sarah Ferguson, Shania Twain, and Naomi and Wynonna Judd are set to premiere later this year, along with a talk show hosted by Rosie O’Donnell.

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