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."
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.