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Sheri Salata and Erik Logan, two veteran Harpo executives, were brought on board to share the title of OWN president, with Logan moving from Chicago to OWN’s Los Angeles headquarters.

Logan said he clearly understands the hard work in establishing any cable channel, and this one in particular.

“One of the greatest gifts and challenges is to have her name on the door,” Logan said of his top boss. “Everything you do garners a high level of scrutiny and attention. … We don’t run from that.”

The initially slight programming lineup is being beefed up, most notably with “Oprah’s Next Chapter.” The weekly series debuts 9 p.m.-11 p.m. EST Sunday with Winfrey’s visit to the New Hampshire home of Steven Tyler.

“Next Chapter” turns the once studio-bound Winfrey into a globe-trotting interviewer who drops into the home of a Hasidic Jewish family in New York, George Lucas’ Skywalker Ranch in California and cook Paula Deen’s Georgia estate. There is also a trip with Sean Penn to Haiti, fire-walking with Tony Robbins and a planned India trip with Deepak Chopra.

The injection of Winfrey on-screen, not just in the executive suite, is sorely needed, suggested one industry analyst.

“The biggest mistake they made is, if it’s the Oprah Winfrey Network, where’s Oprah?” said Bill Carroll of media buying firm Katz Media.

He compared OWN’s Winfrey vacuum to programming the Court TV channel without courtroom shows or the Major League Baseball channel without games: “After a while, viewers stop going,” Carroll said.

OWN has averaged about 136,000 viewers a day, a drop of 8 percent from what Discovery Health drew in 2010, although it’s up slightly in total viewers in prime time and has seen an 8 percent increase among women ages 25 to 54, part of the channel’s hoped-for demographic.

Popular shows include “The Judds,” which ran for six episodes in April and May; “Our America With Lisa Ling”; and the reality series “Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s,” which attracted a strong African-American audience (prompting media reports that OWN intended to skew toward black viewers, an assertion that Discovery and Winfrey deny. “It doesn’t mean we’re going to turn into the `Roots’ channel,” Winfrey said, wryly.)

Winfrey also is on-air with “Oprah’s Lifeclass,” which draws on her talk-show archives, and “Oprah’s Master Class,” a series of high-achiever biography specials. But, she said, she never “was supposed to carry the channel on my back, and it never was supposed to be about me being on the air as much as possible.” Instead, O magazine, with Winfrey as monthly cover girl and articles reflecting her better-life philosophy, is the intended model.

She attributes the channel’s rough start to a more basic error: The lack of a “library” of programming for the many hours of airtime not filled by original shows, compounded by overconfidence about her market value in general.

“I don’t understand what anybody was thinking. You’re going on the air, you’ve got four shows. What do you think you’re going to do by Tuesday? Did they think people were going to turn on the channel just because it had my name on it?” she said, sounding almost eager to cast doubt on her drawing power.

“People didn’t turn on `The Oprah Winfrey Show’ because my name was on it. It was absolutely topic driven every day,” she said.

Such modest expressions aside, Winfrey’s involvement clearly is key to the channel’s success. She’s glad to make the commitment, she said. As her longtime boyfriend Stedman Graham told her, she’d be bored silly today if she’d taken any lengthy break after ending her daytime show.

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