Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Oprah Winfrey and HBO

Via Chicago Tribune: Oprah's Harpo Films has entered an exclusive three-year deal with HBO, the network announced Tuesday. Oprah's company, which had worked with ABC for the last 15 years, will create scripted series, mini-series, films and documentaries for HBO. It isn't known yet when Winfrey's first HBO show will air, but Harpo executives will begin "brainstorming" with HBO's creative staff in early 2009.

"I think the question will be, how are we going to do everything [we want to do], and that will be a Class A problem," HBO co-president Richard Plepler said in a phone press conference with reporters.

Kate Forte, president of Harpo Films, told reporters in the Tuesday phone conference that the "creative freedom" represented by HBO would allow Harpo to expand the kind of fare it comes up with.

"There are natural limitations to being on network television," which is dependent on ratings and commercial sponsorship, Forte said. "HBO is not concerned with that. ... The measure of success for them is quality."For the last year and a half, every time I would bring a project to Oprah, she would say, 'This is perfect for HBO,' " Forte added.

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