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*The cost of launching Oprah Winfrey’s cable network OWN is set to soar beyond its $100 million budget – because executives have already spent three quarters of the money before its January 2011 debut.

Brass at Discovery Communications invested the sum in a joint venture with Winfrey to premiere the talk show host’s new network in 2011.

In a newly released report on second quarter earnings, Discovery Communications chief Brad Singer admits the firm has so far “spent $75 million… on investment in the Oprah Winfrey Network,” three quarters of the “maximum of $100 million that we’re obligated to.”