Now Profitable OWN Makes Big Bet on Lohan Special


Almost as soon as actress Lindsay Lohan left her latest stint in rehab, Oprah Winfrey swooped in to snag an interview with the troubled star. 

“All I can say about it is this: I believe that she believes that she is ready to move forward in her life,” Winfrey told Today Show host Al Roker. “We’ll see.” With that, Winfrey is clearly willing to invest in Lohan’s sober future—or at least document it for all the world to see. 

“I’ve heard a lot of things about me mentoring her,” Oprah said. “When I finished the interview, I gave her one of my favorite books … ‘The Untethered Soul.’ And I’ve texted her a couple times since then. I’m anxious to see whether or not this young woman, who is a really, really fine actress, will be able to allow us into her life and let us see the trajectory of trying to put the pieces back together.”[more]

OWN has inked an eight-part documentary series deal with Lohan to capture that trajectory. Amy Rice, director of the 2009 documentary “By the People: The Election of Barack Obama,” will direct the series, which reportedly netted Lohan $2 million.

The grab for Lohan is no surprise, as Winfrey has been first in line for exclusive and sometimes groundbreaking interviews with high-profile stars including Rihanna, Whitney Houston’s daughter Bobbi Kristina, and Lance Armstrong. 

“Oprah, we’re finding out, is quite the booker herself,” OWN president Sheri Salata told The Huffington Post. “Oprah booked Lance Armstrong. The truth is it’s such a huge advantage. It is competitive to get interviews especially exclusive and first ones but what a huge advantage. You’re gonna sit down with Oprah Winfrey and she’s gonna help you tell your story.”

As for whether partnering with Lohan’s troubled image will damage the brand, Salata said that OWN is the “perfect brand to do it well. It’s a great opportunity to really demonstrate through one life and a well known life with well known challenges the resilience and evolution of the human spirit. So, Oprah has given us a very serious charge to do this well, to do this with the right intentions and to make it real. It doesn’t get better than that.”

The deal with Lohan will provide more momentum for the network, which, for the first time, turned a profit in the second-quarter.