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Oprah's Next Chapter to Premiere New Year's Day

By Chuck Sudo in Arts & Entertainment on Nov 21, 2011 3:30PM

The biggest asset at the Oprah Winfrey Network is... Oprah Winfrey, natch. Come New Year's Day Winfrey's army of couchbound housewives can rejoice as their spiritual leader returns to television with the premiere of Oprah's Next Chapter.

OWN announced the premiere Friday.

"After 25 years I got myself out of the studio chairs. I moved into the next chapter, and I am having more fun than ever - moving around the country and the world talking to people I'm really interested in getting to know and I think viewers will be, too," said Winfrey. "It is so energizing to be out and about in the world exploring new people, new places and new ideas."

"I sat at the dinner table with a Hasidic Jewish family and tried to explain to the children who have never seen a television what TV is...can you imagine? I fire-walked with Tony Robbins—never pictured myself doing that! I celebrated the power of God and community with Joel Osteen and I'm planning a trip with Deepak Chopra to India where I've never been," Winfrey added.

The premiere will feature a visit to Aerosmith lead singer Steven Tyler's New Hampshire home, which we can assume was filmed prior to his slipping in a hotel bathtub in Paraguay.

For Winfrey fans expecting a daily show, we'll let you down easy. OWN said they expect the show to run weekly, on Sunday nights. Discovery, Oprah's partner in OWN, said that new episodes could run two or three times a week. Discovery may be engaging in wishful thinking, since the network debuted to low ratings and is still losing money. We still aren't convinced a network built around Oprah, Gayle King, Rosie O'Donnell, Oprah, Lisa Ling, Oprah, Welcome to Sweetie Pie's, Oprah's pets and Oprah will succeed long-term.

But Winfrey has made a career out of defying expectations. She's at her best when she shows audiences the way to a destination, instead of being sidetracked by the spiritualist pablum that made her an easy target for criticism in later years. Here's hoping the next chapter is a return to form.