Oprah Makes A Desperate Twitter Faux Pas

Oprah Winfrey is under fire after making a controversial bid to resuscitate ratings at her ailing cable network OWN on Twitter. The media mogul told her followers to ditch the Grammys and watch her having dinner with some random family who apparently had never watched tv in their lives. Seriously!

The media mogul, competing for viewership with Sunday evening's Grammy Awards, took to the micro-blogging website to ask her 9.2million followers: 
'Every 1 who can please turn to OWN especially if u have a Nielsen box.'
What appeared to most Twitter users as a simple (if desperate-sounding) call to watch a struggling channel was seen at Nielsen as a potentially serious violation of its policy. 

Nielsen measures the television viewership of a sample of roughly 25,000 households across the United States, and it works hard to ensure that the sample is not coerced to watch specific shows or channels.

The tweet was deleted, Oprah said, 'at the request of Nielsen', which prohibits clients from attempting to influence ratings.

A backlash of comments followed, with several Twitter users accusing the mogul of 'being desperate'. To which she retaliated by dismissing the criticism in a series of tweets writing: 
'The word "please" issued as courtesy not a beg... "desperate" not ever part of my vocab.'

'unethical a little harsh don't u think? Seemed like it made sense to me. Sorry if u're offended,' she added in another.
The television mogul apologised after the inappropriate nature of the tweet was brought to her attention. 
'I removed the tweet at the request of Nielsen, I intended no harm and apologize for the reference,' she said. 
Ms Winfrey launched the Oprah Winfrey Network in January 2011 - eight months before ending her daytime talk show - with a slate of programming she described as 'uplifting.'

But since then the cable channel has struggled to find its feet.

Discovery Communications, Ms Winfrey's partner in the venture, injected $250million (about R1.9Billion) into launching the new channel; but it has since been rocked by weak ratings and internal shifts.

Even her return in front of the cameras - has not helped the struggling network much.

Rosie O'Donnell's show, which was introduced with great fanfare in October, debuted with 497,000. But the ratings have since plummeted to less than 200,000 per episode.

Adding to the problems, Oprah's best friend Gayle King is leaving the network and moving to CBS where she will co-host The Early Show.

No surprise then that Oprah would try and do everything to get her network some much needed support. It can not be easy for a woman who has been at the top most of her career to acknowledge that perhaps the viewers are done with her. 

It is intriguing that the only thing that was thought to be the drawing card for the network is in-fact causing it problems, as critics claim. 

By Oprah naming the network after herself, she may have caused some viewers to judge it not on merit but on the brand Oprah. 

People expect the channel to be about Oprah which is a problem in itself as it puts off potential viewers  -- Oprah or not, who really wants to watch an entire channel dedicated to one person?

Of course the channel is not about Oprah but unfortunately it has failed to attract viewers none-the-less! 

Still, shows with Oprah Winfrey’s name in the title remain its strongest performers - if that's any consolation for O.

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