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Lindsay Lohan will be good for OWN, but will OWN be good for Lohan?
Oprah Winfrey and Lindsay Lohan . . . Lindsay Lohan and Oprah Winfrey . . . LindsayOprahLohanWinfrey . . . say it over and over and over and over again, because Oprah probably is, and so are the executives who run OWN and their overseers at Discovery Communications who have long, long coveted exactly this: A reality series starring one Lindsay Lohan.
And really, can you blame them? With a parsimony of details that undersell the enormity of this score, OWN will only say that the network "will air an exclusive interview with Oprah and Lindsay Lohan that will tape and air in August and an eight-part documentary series with Lindsay for 2014."
Oprah's other big interviews -- January's Lance Armstrong interview that got more Twitter action that "Sharknado" and last year's encounter with Whitney Houston's family -- were almost tentpolls for the network, or at the very least served to establish its viability and the continued clout of its namesake.
But the added benefit, the real benefit for OWN and Oprah, is that series.
Under any circumstances, Lohan is audience catnip; an eight-part documentary is theoretically catnip times eight. Of course, the various questions: How much is OWN paying for this, and was there some sorf of quid pro quo attached (did the Lohan camp want both interview and series, or did OWN demand an interview as part of the package?).
The answers are -- if not important at least interesting because Lohan's post-rehab image rehab will now officially go through OWN, as opposed to "Today," or "GMA," or Barbara Walters, or "SNL," or "Letterman," "Leno" or "Kimmel" -- or any of the other classic stops on that 12-step road to rebuilding one's career and one's image. Lohan has been through this so many times, in fact, that the reality series idea is either a radical and novel departure or a brand new career option -- the Kim Kardashian option.
But what would an eight-part series on her post rehab life actually entail? Going to auditions? Avoiding nightclubs? Never getting behind the wheel of a car, ever? Working on a sequel to "Liz and Dick?"
Really -- what? Her life is so well chronicled, in so many ways -- most of them sordid or sad -- that a series like this promises a Lohan no viewer has ever seen, or perhaps would ever want to see.
But at least for Lohan, a reality series offers a brand new canvas that she can conceivably paint for herself -- conceivably a whole new image for a whole new person.
The flip side is that it just feeds her compulsive need for attention that too often gets yoked to substance abuse. That sad cycle has been repeated so many times, yet Lohan now may finally have a chance, maybe even a realistic one, to stop it altogether. An eight-part reality series will either force her to behave for the cameras -- to really chart genuine progress -- or send her right back into the arms of a monster (rank overexposure) that has done nothing but serve her ill.
Plus, if Lohan is really really really serious about jump-starting her movie career -- although after "The Canyons" that may not be an option -- is a reality series the best way to go about doing that? With a few little exceptions here and there, reality series are one way tickets -- to other reality series.
But who knows! This could be brilliantly counterintuitive.
Anyway, we're getting way ahead of ourselves. (And here's hoping for the best.)
Meanwhile, bet you don't remember the last time Lohan talked to Oprah . . . thought so. An old clip from '06, when she starred in "Bobby."