Oprah Winfrey's ratings were once the thing network-dreams were made of. Now, however, the veteran talk show host may be feeling pressure to increase her fledgling network’s sparse viewership. In what seemed to be a plea to boost OWN's ratings, Winfrey tweeted followers: “Every 1 who can please turn to OWN especially if u have a Nielsen box.”
Winfrey subsequently deleted the tweet after being informed the message may have violated Nielsen's policy prohibiting networks from influencing ratings.
“I removed the tweet at the request of Nielsen,” Winfrey said in a statement Monday. “ I intended no harm and apologize for the reference.”
A Nielsen representative told The New York Times that an asterisk will be attached to OWN’s ratings
NY Daily News adds:
At the time of the tweet, an episode of “Oprah's Next Chapter,” the Oprah Winfrey Network’s signature show, was airing that featured the TV mogul visiting Hassidic Jewish families in Brooklyn.
She was almost immediately hit with a backlash: Several followers accused her of “being desperate.”
“The word ‘please’ is used as courtesy not a beg … ‘desperate’ not ever a part of my vocab …” Winfrey responded, according to EW.com.
OWN debuted in January 2011, eight months before Winfrey ended her hugely popular television talk show, but the channel has since been rocked by changes at the executive level, programming shifts and weak ratings.
Discovery, Winfrey’s partner on the channel, spent $250 million getting OWN off the ground, though has yet to have much to show for it.