Oprah Told to Trim Canada TV Food and Beauty by Watchdog

Canada’s television regulator said Oprah Winfrey’s OWN channel is breaking the terms of its broadcast license by focusing too heavily on food, fitness and beauty while neglecting educational programming.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission ordered the channel in a ruling today to immediately comply with the terms of its broadcasting agreement and submit to monitoring and reporting conditions or possibly face the loss of its license. OWN is aired locally by Toronto-based Corus Entertainment Inc.

Winfrey, chief executive officer of Oprah Winfrey Network, is scheduled to appear at Ottawa’s Scotiabank Place on April 10. “An Evening with Oprah Winfrey” promises to show attendees how to reach their full potential. The dispute with Canada’s broadcast regulator began after Corus re-branded a channel to OWN programming in 2011.

Corus is pleased with the decision that allows it to continue to operate OWN and will work within the CRTC’s guidelines, spokesman Owen McCorquodale said in an e-mail statement. Nicole Nichols, a spokeswoman for OWN in Los Angeles, referred calls seeking comment to Corus.

OWN’s license calls for programming that “provides formal and informal educational programming and learning opportunities that generally focus on adult education,” the CRTC ruling said. Instead, “a disproportionate amount of OWN’s schedule is still composed of ‘life-enhancing’ programming, with the result of an insufficient representation of basic, skills-related and credit-based programming.”

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