Upfronts 2010: Oprah, Iron Mike Light Up Discovery Upfront


It was a cavalcade of stars at Discovery Communications’ upfront presentation April 8 at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Rose Hall. (Click here for complete upfront coverage.)

Oprah Winfrey–the personality behind OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network, a joint venture between her Harpo Prod. and Discovery–bounded on to the stage wearing four-inch heels and a mile-wide grin. Evangelizing about the power of her very own brand of cable TV, she said her own network is “a dream that I’ve been carrying around for many, many years–and actually call it OWN.” (It was hard not to take that last quip as a swipe at her first cable venture, the now NBC Universal-owned Oxygen, home of the anti-Oprah Bad Girls Club.)

“Those letters are working out for me,” added Winfrey. “I want to take what I’ve established in daytime–inspiring people and giving them hope and a few cars–and build on that 24/7, OWN style.”

Winfrey introduced Shania Twain, who will have her own comeback reality vehicle on OWN, and singer will.I.am, who is among those highlighted in Visionaries.

Her OWN presentation was heavy on superlatives–apparently Winfrey “loves, loves” almost every program on her own network, naturally.

“Intention is very important,” she said. “OWN will be the network that is built on intentions.”

Winfrey says her goal is to “be a force for good in the world.”

By the end of the presentation, it almost felt as if Winfrey was introducing a new religion.

Sarah Palin made an appearance -by video, alas- to plug her new Mark Burnett-produced reality show for TLC.

But it was Mike Tyson who got the biggest laughs from the audience at Rose Hall. The former heavyweight champ enters the competitive world of pigeon racing in Animal Planet’s Taking on Tyson.

Tyson engaged in a rambling explanation about his origins in pigeon racing that seemed to involve neighborhood bullies. The upshot: “I stopped going to school and started going to the pigeon coop,” he said.

“We could not be more thrilled to have you and your pigeons on Animal Planet,” said Animal Planet president and GM Marjorie Kaplan.

“I’m just excited to give a boost to the pigeon world,” said Tyson. “Pigeons are stereotyped just like people. They never gave anyone any diseases. Maybe some bugs or something.”