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Watch First 5 Minutes Of Hit OWN Show "Welcome To Sweetie Pies" Ahead Of Spring Season Debut

Television
by Tambay A. Obenson
March 29, 2012 12:45 PM
8 Comments
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I'm remembering a piece we posted last fall on OWN shifting its focus to its African American viewers:

According to OWN president Erik Logan and Discovery Communications CEO David Zaslav, the silver lining in an otherwise bleak performance record for the network since its launch last January is that it's performing particularly well among its African-Americans audience members - especially with a reality show called Sweetie Pies that premiered in October. “Anytime you have a program that pops like Sweetie Pies did, you start looking at what drove it,” Logan tells Adweek. “And we saw that the African-American audience really had a connection with that show. . . . We’re going to look at ways to nurture and grow that.” OWN has an average prime-time viewership of around 216,000 people, but Sweetie Pies enjoys an average audience of around 418,000, making it the highest rated show on the network by far [...] According to Logan, OWN executives will be taking the success of Sweetie Pies in that market into consideration when making future programming decisions.

We already told you about the success of Sweetie Pies (Serigio's last post on it HERE); so, given the overwhelming success of the show, the fact that African Americans are its primary supporters, and what OWN executives have said about taking that success into consideration when making future programming decisions, what does that mean for OWN from here on? More shows centered around the lives of black people, or just more shows like Sweetie Pies?

Oprah success is tied to the fact that she's always had a wide, diverse fan base. Everybody loves/watches Oprah, and that has factored into how she's structured her programming. And as The Hollywood Reporter noted last fall, "If indeed OWN does begin programming around the relative success of Sweetie Pies and catering to the African-American audience more specifically, it would be a dramatic departure from the formula for Winfrey's success."

We'll see...

In the meantime, watch the first 5 minutes of Sweetie Pie's spring season premiere before its premiere on Saturday, March 31st at 9/8c, only on OWN (the network ordered an addtional 10 more episodes of the show after its surprising success last year, bringing the total to 18 episodes to date; The show follows the lives, loves and struggles of Robbie Montgomery and her family, who run the well known Sweetie Pie's soul food restaurant in St. Louis).

By the way, who's watched it? I don't have OWN so I haven't seen an episode.

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8 Comments

  • Gwen Conway | April 8, 2012 2:26 AMReply

    There are so many reality shows to choose from and I'm just glad I chose to watch Welcome to Sweetie Pies. I enjoy the show tremendously and I love Ms. Robbie. I pray much success for the continuation of the all three restaurants ad well as the show.

  • MotownMusicLvr | March 30, 2012 8:42 AMReply

    I wish she would talk with Robert Townsend and bring his web series, DIARY OF A SINGLE MOM, to OWN!!!! www.pic.tv/singlemom. It is AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! All-star cast . . . . Monica Calhoun, Leon, Billy Dee Williams, Richard Roundtree, Diahann Carroll, Valery Ortiz, Neiko Mann, Janice Lynde, and some really cute kids!!!!

  • Nadine | March 30, 2012 9:57 AM

    That's not to say people shouldn't give it a chance... hopefully it has gotten better.

  • Nadine | March 30, 2012 9:55 AM

    That series is not THE WORST only because it is benefiting from a bell curve of horrible web series overload, but it is pretty damn close (from the last time I saw it - maybe it has improved), but that series had all the components necessary to make a great web series and they squandered it on pathologies and wishful thinking. There were so many tropes in the first episode I just REFUSED to believe that Townsend had anything to do with it. 3 years ago I would have stated, with certainty, that Oprah would not touch that series with a ten foot pole, but after "Precious", who knows... DOASM might be right down her alley.

  • Kati Hendry | March 29, 2012 5:34 PMReply

    "You don't know the difference between s*** and apple butter!" - I ain't never heard that one before xD

    I really wish we got the OWN network on our cable plan in the south - I guess Oprah Winfrey has an uphill battle to prove herself to advertisers like everyone else, but I feel like OWN would be well-liked if it managed to get more exposure. I haven't gotten to see the shows, but I'm going to say that doing away with middle-age-woman-feel-good shows (is this what they were going for?) and adding more African-American targeted shows could be a great thing.

    I grew up in South Carolina, where a lot of what might be considered black culture overlaps with southern culture. I just watched this clip and I'm rooting for the Montgomeries already, I'm very familiar with them (how they talk, what everything looks like), and now I'm hungry. This kind of stuff could be like a comfort show to the southern demographic, maybe in the same way that Roseanne used to be. White people aren't necessarily going to see this and think "Oh this is targeted at black people" - my family at home would see it and think "Oh this is targeted at small-town-values, soul-food-cooking penny-pinchers like me who unlike me have the guts to be an entrepreneur. Wow, let me root for them and maybe learn something too."

    I heard once that BET is actually watched by more white people than black people. Apparently that's very much not true - here's a breakdown of their demographics: http://www.themediaaudit.com/media/2252/Bet_Auto_Presentation.pdf
    But still a good little chunk of their viewership is white (18%), and I doubt OWN is wanting to hit as hard of a line on their target being African-American as BET does. There's a lot OWN can flirt with here, if they look at the south and areas where the black minority population is so high. If they're careful they can capture not just the African-American viewership but a lot of lower/middle-class southerners, too.

    In LA the "roots" part of me identifies the most with the Latino population, though I don't speak a lick of Spanish - because they're often doing jobs my family would identify with and are pushing around baby strollers (which if my dad had his way is what I'd be doing). In Venice I freaked out because I finally found a southern restaurant, AND the chances of it being good and authentic skyrocketed when I saw not two white people running the place, but two black people. I don't mean that to offend anyone. My point is that the viewership breakdown won't be just about race, of course, and there's a lot more flexibility on what's considered "black audience targeted" in other areas of the country, maybe, because the cultural divide is actually less. I hope the OWN network finds a way to play with this potential.

    Good luck to the Montgomery family, but heck if they're on OWN, their business will explode :)

  • sandra | March 29, 2012 1:42 PMReply

    Just hope the OWN network doesn't do what ALL other upstart/struggling networks before have done, i.e dump the black (work horse) programs once the shows have fulfilled their purpose.

  • JMAC | March 29, 2012 1:41 PMReply

    Caught the re-runs after season 1 and it is one of those rare positive reality shows. FYI, just got an OWN email yesterday about Iyanla showing up on the season premiere of Lifeclass. More info here: http://www.oprah.com/oprahs-lifeclass/Oprahs-Lifeclass-the-Tour-Episode-1-Stopping-the-Pain

  • NYO | March 29, 2012 1:05 PMReply

    It's a good show. A positive spin on the reality genre...in keeping with Oprah's tradition of elevating from the norm. Much needed and vast departure from the representation of RHOA, B-ball wives, etc. Glad to see it's a success and good to see that WE are supporting it.

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