Oprah Winfrey’s dream of escaping the talk show grind has come to an unceremonious end. She’s going back on the air in a desperate bid to revive the ratings of her OWN network. But Steven Tyler?
The network has struggled with low ratings from the get-go, forcing Oprah to step in as chief executive in July. So far, her behind-the-scenes efforts have failed to pay off.
Hence, the series, called “Oprah’s Next Chapter,” will debut in January and Tyler, 63, frontman for rock band Aerosmith and an “American Idol” judge will be her first guest.
He’s a curious choice since he’s pretty much played out on the talk show circuit and his band is ancient, unless of course her key demographic is the 55-years-old and older crowd. Rest assured, it isn’t.
In fact her first three guests are all over 50. She also plans to interview Sean Pean about relief efforts in Haiti.
After that, she will take a tour of the Skywalker Ranch with series Director George Lucas, as if that is even remotely relevant.
Baby boomers are a huge under-served market now that they are entering their retirement years, but you can bet most are still fixated on youth.
Oprah will shoot the interview at Tyler’s home in New Hampshire and hopes to get two hours of airtime out of it. Good luck.
Not that there is anything wrong with Tyler. He’s been around and he’s engaging enough, but who wants to hear him recount all of his drug and rehab stories from the 1980s?
It would be interesting, maybe, to hear him talk about how the music industry has changed and become more exploitative, in many ways, through shows like “American Idol.”
But that would be sort of like biting the hand that feeds him, and he’s unlikely to do that.
Of course, Oprah, at 57, is a contemporary, and perhaps she can’t see beyond her own generation for interesting guests.
Her choice of Rosie O’Donnell, 49, to host a talk show has proven to be just as myopic. Fewer than 200,000 viewers are tuning in to each show, down from about half a million when it debuted.
Winfrey took a giant leap when she ended her 25-year-old, highly rated daily talk show on a high note and announced plans for what she called the OWN Network.
But maybe it should be called the OLD Network.