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Oprah Winfrey on OWN mistakes and never quitting

Oprah Winfrey on new life, OWN cable network 09:22

(CBS News) - If she had to do it all over again, television icon Oprah Winfrey said she might not have created OWN, her television network.

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"The idea of creating a network was something that I wanted to do. Had I known that it was this difficult, I might have done something else," Winfrey said Monday on "CBS This Morning."

Winfrey added, "I didn't think it was going to be easy, but...if I knew then what I know now, I might have made different choices. If I were writing a book about it, I could call the book '101 Mistakes.'"

Among those mistakes, Winfrey said, was going live before the network was ready to be launched.

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She said, "It's like, having the wedding when you know you're not ready. And you're walking down the aisle and you're saying, 'Oh, I don't know if we should be walking down the aisle. Maybe we should have postponed this. ... I would have probably waited until I actually finished 'The Oprah Show.' Because from the day that David Zaslav (the head of Discovery Communications) came in to see me, I said to him, 'The thing that I'm worried about who's going to lead this train because I can't do it.' I know how hard it is to do a daily show...and I'm in Chicago and that's in Los Angeles. That's going to be very hard.

"Last year, actually, I was sitting literally at the feet of (TV executive) Lorne Michaels, and he said, 'You have no idea what you've stepped yourself into.' He also said, ...'You'll have moments of schadenfreude where people - no one wants to see you come off 'The Oprah Winfrey Show' of all those 25 years of success and step right into the network business. You've got to pay your dues.'"

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After 25 years on daytime TV, Winfrey is in the midst of the next stage of her life as chief executive officer of OWN.

She has faced some criticism over the network's performance. Winfrey said she was, "Really knocked off-center," by one particular headline in USA Today this past week. It read: "Oprah Winfrey isn't quite holding her OWN ."

The irony, the TV icon said, is that same newspaper published her favorite headline about Oprah's classroom years ago.

But would Winfrey ever quit her work in television?

Winfrey said, "The reason why I wouldn't do that, first of all, I would be happy in my garden under the tree with my dogs, reading a book. I'd be happy with doing that. (My partner) Stedman (Graham) says, 'About two weeks.' Because I'm a very driven person. Also, I believe that I am here to fulfill a calling. That because I am a female who is African American, who has been so blessed in the world, there's never going to be a time to quit. I will die in the midst of doing what I love to do. And that is, using my voice and using my life to try to inspire other people to live the best of theirs."

But, Gayle King asked, is it something Winfrey thinks about? "Didn't you have a moment where you go, 'God. ... I don't need it, I don't need another pair of shoes?"

"I thought that last week with all the negative press," Winfrey replied. "You know, it's just press. It's just press. It's just press. You know, because a thing appears to not be doing well, and I'd like to say this to everybody: because you failed at something, which we haven't failed, but just because you fail doesn't make you a failure. When you know that in the core of yourself, you can keep trying or you can use whatever is happening in that moment to say, 'Maybe I need to move in a new direction."

She added, "Actually, I feel better about our network now today than I ever have."

For more with Winfrey on her network and its strategy, as well as the most painful thing that she's had to do in her role as chief executive officer, watch the video in the player above.

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