*Andy Cohen, Bravo programming exec and host of its late-night show “Watch What Happens,” was asked how he would boost ratings at the struggling Oprah Winfrey Network during a visit to Howard Stern’s satellite radio show Tuesday.
“Here’s the first thing that I would do and it’s the first thing I would have done two years ago: put on re-reruns of the freaking Oprah Winfrey Show,” Cohen said. “They are sitting on a 25-year archive of The Oprah Winfrey Show. You have all this time to fill? Guess what I want to watch? The greatest talk show in the history of talk shows, The Oprah Winfrey Show,” he said.
At Bravo, Cohen is responsible for such successful reality franchises as “Project Runway,” “Top Chef” and the multi-city “Real Housewives” editions.
Winfrey is featured in two OWN programs: “Oprah’s Next Chapter,” an interview show that’s attracted the biggest audience with high-profile guests, and “Oprah’s Lifeclass,” a televised self-help session that has included appearances from Deepak Chopra and Tony Robbins.
“First of all, I don’t want to watch a show that has class in the title,” said Cohen. “I don’t want to go to school. … I just want to see the old The Oprah Winfrey Show.” He added: “I know they probably have rights issues … (but) it’s the greatest show.”
Cohen said he would decline an offer to jump from Bravo to OWN because he’s “like a pig in s–t right now,” multi-tasking on projects including his new memoir, “Most Talkative: Stories from the Front Lines of Pop Culture,” which was released Tuesday.
*Oprah Winfrey now has her own street.
On Wednesday, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, in one of his last official acts before he leaves office next week, stopped by her studio to rename a street outside Harpo Studios where Winfrey tapes her show “Oprah Winfrey Way.”
Winfrey is widely credited with helping transform a gritty part of the city into a thriving neighborhood, as her beige building with the giant silver `O’ proved to be a magnet for young professionals and families.
Winfrey is the latest of more than 1,000 celebrities, religious leaders and activists and others who have been honored with street signs in the Windy City. Michael Jordan, Siskel and Ebert, Hugh Hefner and Frank Sinatra have been honored over the years — Sinatra twice as it turns out.
*In the newest Jet magazine hitting newsstands on Monday, entertainment reporter Miki Turner went and snagged an interview with the queen of daytime television, Oprah Winfrey, regarding controlling her destiny and her plans for OWN.
Winfrey also shares some of her favorite fan moments, lessons learned and thoughts about leaving The Oprah Winfrey Show after 25 years.
“There’s a part of me that’s a little frustrated because I would like to have more and do more. That’s been difficult because it takes a lot to build a show from scratch and fill 600 hours!,” Winfrey says about OWN.
ALSO inside: JET@60
The weekly mag continues a year-long 60th anniversary celebration with a look at trailblazers in our culture – from the past and the present – whose commitment to excellence allowed them to make inroads in every aspect of our world. Readers will hear inspirational words from trailblazers from various backgrounds including: renowned educator Marva Collins, famed singer Aretha Franklin, President Barack Obama and NFL quarterback Donovan McNabb.
*South Carolina’s new governor is denying Oprah Winfrey a prison interview she’s been trying to score for a decade with a woman who drowned her two young sons, then blamed the crime on a black man.
Susan Smith is serving a life sentence for killing 3-year-old Michael and 14-month-old Alex in 1994 by strapping them into their car seats and driving the car into a pond. She has not been interviewed since being charged. On Wednesday’s show, a Winfrey staffer said she has been trying to arrange an interview.
Winfrey suggested on the show that Gov.-elect Nikki Haley could change prison rules that prohibit media interviews.
Haley spokesman Rob Godfrey said Thursday that Winfrey won’t get her wish. He says Smith got enough attention when she originally claimed she was carjacked before the truth came out.
Smith had originally claimed that a black man stole her car and kidnapped her sons.
*Oprah Winfrey’s OWN network added several shows to its development slate Tuesday, including a docu-series chronicling the final season of her syndicated “Oprah Winfrey Show,” according to the Hollywood Reporter.
The other working-title projects are:
• “Kid-Napped,” where kids turn the tables on workaholic parents, banning them from work. The show is a U.K. format produced by Love Prods.
• “Miracle Detectives,” from Pilgrim TV and Films, has two investigators looking for answers to different miraculous events.
• “Search,” from Stuart Krasnow Prods., follows a specialist helping people track down lost loved ones.
• “Sentenced,” from 44 Blue, looks at life in a maximum-security women’s prison.