Oprah Winfrey Opens Up About Own Network Fears

Talk show titan Oprah Winfrey almost pulled out of plans to launch her forthcoming U.S. TV network - because she feared she would be paralysed by her previous success like tragic pop icon Michael Jackson.

The mogul's 25-year run on The Oprah Winfrey Show has made her one of the world's biggest stars and richest women - earning her an estimated $3 billion.

She will move on to run Own: The Oprah Winfrey Network after her syndicated chat show ends next September.

But Winfrey admits she was crippled with doubt about quitting the hit show this summer after learning how the King of Pop became a victim of his own success following his critically acclaimed 1983 hit Thriller.

She tells Fortune magazine, "All the bells went off. This is why I lived in fear about this network. I kept thinking I have to repeat the 25-year phenomenon of the Oprah show. I don't want to be Michael Jackson."

Winfrey's indecision has cost backers at Discovery Communications big - executives were forced to invest an extra $89 million (£59.3 million) on top of their initial $100 million (£66.7 million) to launch Own, because Winfrey was having serious doubts about the new project.

She explains, "This is part of the reason Own was stagnant. I was the holdup."

But the star insists she's conquered her fears, and she's looking forward to moving on with a planned launch for Own in January, 2012.

She adds: "My fear about, 'Will the people really follow me?' - I'm past that."


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