Oprah: Is she trying for a Tony after being shut out of Oscar race?

One thing has become clear when your name is Oprah Winfrey: You can do whatever you want, no matter how bewildering it is.

Reports that the former talk show host, who is the founder and head of OWN, the Oprah Winfrey Network, may be headed for Broadway to star with Audra McDonald in a revival of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play “ ‘night, Mother” is raising a few eyebrows and questions.

Is she craving the roar of the crowd again? Is Winfrey bored with running a television network which bears her name? Or does she feel that being the head of a network is not really a full-time job that demands her total attention?

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She certainly felt that way a few years ago. When OWN first launched in 2011, the network suffered a stream of executive upheavals, programming missteps and lackluster ratings. But in spite of those troubles, Winfrey temporarily abandoned her executive duties in 2012 for a role in “Lee Daniels’ ‘The Butler,” her first film since 1998’s “Beloved.”

Winfrey, who has won accolades for her acting, may have thought that appearing in “The Butler” might counteract much of the bad publicity surrounding OWN. When she scored good reviews for the film, several award show insiders predicted that Winfrey, with her shining star power, might even score an Oscar nomination.

However, Winfrey not only did not get nominated for an Oscar, but was shut out of the Golden Globes and for several other lesser awards.

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OWN is now on steadier ground with a couple of hits from Tyler Perry and an upcoming reality series about troubled Lindsay Lohan that is certain to attract a lot of attention.

But rather than develop more substantial programming and build a more solid network, Winfrey seemingly feels relaxed enough about her “day job” to dip her toe into a demanding part on the Great White Way.

If she falls short again, maybe Perry can put her on the road in one of his “Madea” plays.


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