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Oprah: OWN 'The Climb Of My Life'

By FRAZIER MOORE 04/ 6/12 01:52 AM ET AP

NEW YORK -- Oprah Winfrey says creating her new cable network has turned out to be a steep climb.

"I'm climbing Kilimanjaro," she told advertisers Thursday at a presentation for OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network. She quickly explained that her Kilimanjaro is at the offices of OWN.

"You know that song, `The Time of My Life'? I've had the climb of my life," she cracked.

The network has struggled to build an audience since its launch in January 2011. It recently announced severe staff layoffs and a management shakeup with Discovery Communications, the company that's bankrolled it with $300 million-plus.

But Winfrey struck a hopeful note in her brief remarks, even as she allowed she's still nowhere near the channel's summit of success.

"With our restructuring and right-sizing and getting into the sauce of what needs to happen every day, I feel like I can at least now see the summit," she said.

OWN was unveiling four new prime-time series, including "Elura and Michele Take Staten Island," a reality series with two outspoken former prosecutors who tell people how to straighten out their problems; "Iyanla Fix My Life," starring the author and inspirational speaker Iyanla Vanzant; "Married to the Army: Alaska," which focuses on Alaska-based wives and families of military troops who are off serving in Afghanistan; and "Six Little McGhees," about high school sweethearts Mia and Rozonno McGhee, parents of the first sextuplets born in Columbus, Ohio.

In addition, OWN will introduce a new game show, "Are You Normal, America?" It measures its contestants' opinions and habits against those of the nation overall.

Winfrey's appearance at the Discovery "upfront" presentation came the week she was interviewed on "CBS This Morning" about her challenges at OWN.

"The idea of creating a network was something that I wanted to do," she told the program's co-host – and her best friend – Gayle King on Monday. She added, "Had I known that it was this difficult, I might have done something else."

"If I knew then what I know now, I might have made different choices," she declared. "If I were writing a book about it, I could call the book `101 Mistakes.'"

Among those mistakes: going on the air before the network was ready.

But Winfrey insisted, "I feel better about our network now, today, than I ever have."

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  • Oprah In Her Many Guises

    Hanging with Ralph Lauren!

  • Pushing her television network!

  • Chilling in Sun Valley!

  • Having Maria Shriver pay tribute to her!

  • Presenting at the Oscars!

  • Smiling for paparazzi!

  • Sitting on couches!

  • Holding signs!

  • Talking to Australia!

  • On a boat with Russell Crowe!

  • In India!

  • Attending the inaugural graduation at her school in South Africa!

  • Bidding farewell to her talk show with Maya Angelou!

  • Hard at work on OWN!

  • Hanging with Paul McCartney!

  • Arriving with Stedman!

  • Dancing with Curtis Stone!

  • Laughing with Toni Morrison!

  • Hanging with Gayle and Julia Roberts!

  • Celebrating the 10th anniversary of 'O Magazine'!

  • Hanging with Oscar de la Renta!

  • Presenting at the Academy Awards

  • Hanging with Tyler Perry!

  • Chatting with Michelle Obama!

  • Broadcasting live from New York!

  • Special Screening Of Walt Disney Pictures' The Odd Life Of Timothy Green Hosted By Scott Sanders

    NEW YORK - JUNE 27: Oprah Winfrey and actor Hugh Jackman attended a special screening of Walt Disney Pictures' new film 'The Odd Life of Timothy Green' hosted by producer Scott Sanders at the Crosby Street Hotel on June 27, 2012 in New York City. The film opens in theatres nationwide on August 15th. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Walt Disney Studios)

  • 2012 Spelman College Commencement

    COLLEGE PARK, GA - MAY 20: Oprah Winfrey attends the Spelman College Commencement at Georgia International Convention Center on May 20, 2012 in College Park, Georgia. (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images)

  • Lance Armstrong, Oprah Winfrey

    FILE - In this Monday, Jan. 14, 2013, file photo provided by Harpo Studios Inc., talk show host Oprah Winfrey, right, interviews Lance Armstrong during taping for the show "Oprah and Lance Armstrong: The Worldwide Exclusive" in Austin, Texas. Armstrong confessed to using performance-enhancing drugs to win the Tour de France cycling during the interview that aired Thursday, Jan. 17, reversing more than a decade of denial. (AP Photo/Courtesy of Harpo Studios, Inc., George Burns, File)

  • US-CYCLING-ARMSTRONG-APOLOGY

    A photo illustration shows a man watching a TV showing disgraced cycling star Lance Armstrong being interviewed by Oprah Winfrey on January 17, 2013 in Kensington, Maryland. Armstrong said in the interview that he was 'sorry' for taking performance-enhancing drugs during his career and that it was a mistake. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

  • US-CYCLING-ARMSTRONG-OPRAH

    A photo illustration shows a woman as she watches the CBS morning show featuring TV presenter Oprah Winfrey talking about her interview with the cyclist Lance Armstrong, Washington DC, January 15, 2013. 'I didn't get all the questions asked, but I think the most important questions and the answers that people around the world have been waiting to hear were answered,' she said on CBS 'This Morning.' 'I can only say I was satisfied by the answers.' Armstrong, who has consistently denied drug-taking, on Monday recorded a two-and-a-half hour interview with Winfrey in his hometown Austin, Texas. AFP PHOTO/MLADEN ANTONOV (Photo credit should read MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images)

  • A Conversation With David Letterman And Oprah Winfrey

    MUNCIE, IN - NOVEMBER 26: David Letterman (R) and Oprah Winfrey attend 'A Conversation With David Letterman And Oprah Winfrey' at Ball State University on November 26, 2012 in Muncie, Indiana. (Photo by Ron Hoskins/Getty Images)

  • A Conversation With David Letterman And Oprah Winfrey

    MUNCIE, IN - NOVEMBER 26: David Letterman (R) and Oprah Winfrey attend 'A Conversation With David Letterman And Oprah Winfrey' at Ball State University on November 26, 2012 in Muncie, Indiana. (Photo by Ron Hoskins/Getty Images)

  • TIME's Screening Of Lincoln And Q & A With Steven Spielberg And Daniel-Day Lewis

    NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 25: Oprah Winfrey and CEO of TIME Inc. Laura Lang attend the TIME's screening of Lincoln and Q & A on October 25, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for TIME)

  • TIME's Screening Of Lincoln And Q & A With Steven Spielberg And Daniel-Day Lewis

    NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 25: Oprah Winfrey and Bill O'Reilly attend the TIME's screening of Lincoln and Q & A on October 25, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images for TIME)

  • TIME's Screening Of Lincoln And Q & A With Steven Spielberg And Daniel-Day Lewis

    NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 25: Charlie Rose and Oprah Winfrey attend the TIME's screening of Lincoln and Q & A on October 25, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images for TIME)

  • TIME's Screening Of Lincoln And Q & A With Steven Spielberg And Daniel-Day Lewis

    NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 25: Neil deGrasse Tyson and Oprah Winfrey attend the TIME's screening of Lincoln and Q & A on October 25, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images for TIME)

  • OW interviews Rihanna in Barbados

    This Aug. 4, 2012 image released by Harpo Productions shows singer Rihanna, left, with Oprah Winfrey during an interview for "Oprah’s Next Chapter" in Barbados. The interview, in which Rihanna speaks about her relationship with Chris Brown, will air on Sunday, Aug. 19 at 9p.m. EST on OWN. (AP Photo/Harpo Productions, George Burns)

  • OW interviews Rihanna in Barbados

    This Aug. 4, 2012 image released by Harpo Productions shows singer Rihanna, left, with Oprah Winfrey during an interview for "Oprah’s Next Chapter" at Rihanna's home in Barbados. The interview, in which Rihanna speaks about her relationship with Chris Brown, will air on Sunday, Aug. 19 at 9p.m. EST on OWN. (AP Photo/Harpo Productions, George Burns)

  • Maya Angelou, Alicia Keys, Oprah Winfrey

    FILE - This May 17, 2011 file photo shows singer Alicia Keys, left, and Oprah Winfrey during a taping of "Surprise Oprah! A Farewell Spectacular," in Chicago. Keys announced Tuesday, July 10, 2012 that her organization Keep a Child Alive will pay homage to Winfrey at its Black Ball event on Nov. 1. Winfrey's humanitarian efforts include the building of schools in South Africa. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, file)

  • Special Screening Of Walt Disney Pictures' The Odd Life Of Timothy Green Hosted By Scott Sanders

    NEW YORK - JUNE 27: Oprah Winfrey and actor Hugh Jackman attended a special screening of Walt Disney Pictures' new film 'The Odd Life of Timothy Green' hosted by producer Scott Sanders at the Crosby Street Hotel on June 27, 2012 in New York City. The film opens in theatres nationwide on August 15th. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Walt Disney Studios)

  • In this image released by CBS, Oprah Winfrey, left, appears on "CBS This Morning," with co-hosts Gayle King and Charlie Rose, right, Monday, April 2, 2012 in New York. Winfrey says she still has faith in her troubled cable network. Appearing on the morning show, Winfrey told King that she believes the Oprah Winfrey Network will fulfill its mission of transforming viewers' lives. But if viewers don't respond, Winfrey says: “I will move on to the next thing.” OWN has struggled to build an audience since its launch in January 2011. (AP Photo/CBS, Heather Wines)

  • In this undated image from video released by Harpo, Inc., host Oprah Winfrey, left, embraces Bobbi Kristina, daughter of the late singer Whitney Houston during an interview in Atlanta, Ga. The exclusive interview will be shown on "Oprah's Next Chapter," on the OWN network, Sunday, March 11, 2012 at 9:00 p.m. EST. (AP Photo/Harpo, Inc.)

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Filed by Jack Mirkinson  |