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Oprah's OWN On Its Way To Becoming A *Black* TV Network (Oh No!)

by Tambay A. Obenson
December 8, 2011 5:32 PM
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Things that make you go hmm... Read below from longer piece on The Hollywood Reporter's website titled OWN Shifting Attention 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.

Like I said... things that make you go hmm...!

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 notes, "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."

As the title of this post states... OWN is on its way to becoming a black TV network :)

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  • misha | December 9, 2011 12:19 PMReply

    LOL @ that headline, Tambay.

  • sandra | December 8, 2011 10:38 PMReply

    Oprah-the prodigal daughter! LMBAO...only until her ratings get back on track and then... back to her old ways.

  • JMac | December 8, 2011 10:05 PMReply

    She has woken up - started with a few black documentaries (but not advertised as black), she's got two black reality shows now: Sweetie Pie's and Party at Tiffany's (found out she swiped that from TLC at the last minute so not much advertising done for that show). Also another show next year with Beverly Johnson (I think). Then she'll be doing the revamped Oprah Show. It'd be nice if she'd branch out into acquiring good scripted black shows or even black history shows but I think she prefers it being an Oprah version of TLC. If so, maybe bring back B Smith with Style and give nutty Iyanla her own show instead of appearances here and there.

  • Orville | December 8, 2011 9:29 PMReply

    I think this is kind of sad in a way, why didn't Oprah try to appeal to the black audience in the first place? I guess Oprah thought by appealing to white America her network OWN would thrive but that proved wrong. I wish Oprah would wake up and realize the black audience is really hungry for good quality entertainment. If Oprah tried to reach black people with quality television I think OWN would become a success.

  • jacytoon | December 8, 2011 9:00 PMReply

    Oh my Suzan look how evil the big O has been to over black 400 men.

    the disgrace........

  • Suzan | December 8, 2011 7:57 PMReply

    My my my how the mighty have fallen. Can't stand Oprah and her disrespect of ppl of color . This was the same person who said that all Black children value sneakers and iPods more than an education... she's a disgrace. She may find a good audience on animal planet since it appears she loves her dogs so much .

  • Kim | December 16, 2011 1:03 PM

    No Suzan, what is a disgrace is that the black literacy rate was higher in the early 20th century than it is today.

  • Orville | December 10, 2011 1:17 AM

    Actually, in Oprah's defense she was talking about black American children she was comparing USA blacks to blacks in South Africa. She said blacks in South Africa value education more and black Americans were lazy.

  • Kia | December 9, 2011 3:56 PM

    Sorry, I agree with Oprah about this generation's got it backwards--black and white.

  • BoomerWiz | December 8, 2011 6:06 PMReply

    This is an interesting projection. It will be fun to see the direction it takes in the building process.

  • Mark | December 8, 2011 6:03 PMReply

    Jeez, Oprah should have licensed All My Children & One Life to Live. The both get/got 10 times the ratings her shows average. Discover wasted $245 million on bad programming. Nothing on Oprah is that novel. It's the same rehashed self-help programming available on broadcast and cable. Lisa Ling's documentaries are praiseworthy.

    Refocussing on African-Americans seems interesting given that there's already BET, TVOne, and VH1. How All three have been moving into scripted dramas and comedies alongside their reality & docudrama shows. Can anyone see Oprah producing a sleazy show like Basketball Wives or Real Housewives of wherever or any of the other popular docudramas?

  • Ash | December 8, 2011 10:41 PM

    I co-sign 100% with Coco

  • CoCo | December 8, 2011 8:20 PM

    @Mark - No, I do not see Oprah producing anything sleazy like that. Not all Black people watch the shows or networks you listed; I definitely do NOT waste my time on any of the trash you listed and of the three networks you listed, TVOne is the only one worthy of gracing the television set in my home.

    Speaking as a Black woman who likes Oprah and has a tremendous amount of respect for her, I wanted her network to do well and even increased our cable bill by a few dollars in order to get the package that included her channel. However, I stopped watching after a few weeks because, as is my standard with any network I watch, I needed to see myself represented on OWN (Oprah and Gayle don't count) and when that was not the case, I did not continue to tune in to it.

    I really do like "Welcome To Sweetie Pie's," but I am sure there are more than Black viewers that are behind the success of that show.

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