Published July 28, 2011
Oprah Winfrey’s basic cable OWN channel, which has struggled with subpar ratings in its 19 months on the air, has suffered yet another blow. Winfrey’s frequent guest and former protégé, Jenny McCarthy, has left the network.
McCarthy was set to create a television series for the talk show titan’s fledgling network after signing a development deal in 2009.
But the former Playboy Playmate grew increasingly frustrated with OWN’s creative team, a source tells FOX411.com.
“Jenny wasn’t thrilled with the direction that OWN producers were going with on the show,” the source sad. “She had been working with Oprah and her producers for over a year, developing this project for OWN. Jenny finally decided to embrace Oprah’s philosophy, which is to ‘follow your bliss.’ Well, Jenny followed her bliss and walked right off the project.”
An OWN rep confirmed the sudden development to FOX411.com.
“OWN does not have a show in development with Jenny McCarthy,” the rep said.
But it gets even worse for Winfrey. To add insult to injury, McCarthy has now taken the concept for the show she developed for OWN to NBC to produce, the source tells FOX411.com.
“We do not comment on projects in development,” a NBC Universal rep told FOX411.com.
McCarthy's rep did not respond to a request for comment.
McCarthy and Winfrey became fast friends after the actress became an advocate for parents whose children suffer from autism, a condition her son, Evan, was diagnosed with in 2004.
McCarthy, who penned a blog on Oprah.com as one of her first projects in the development deal, seemed on track to follow in the footsteps of other Winfrey favorites like chef Rachel Ray and psychologist Phil McGraw, both of whom launched their own successful shows.
Meanwhile, Winfrey has admitted that launching OWN has been a bigger challenge than she anticipated. Earlier this month, she took over the network's CEO duties.
“Over the years I had complete control,” Winfrey told cable industry insiders last month. “It’s a little harder making a judgment as to what other shows can do. It’s about finding your particular flow and being able to connect to it.”
That flow will now not be including Jenny McCarthy.