I recall joking about a year ago, that the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) was fast-becoming a black cable TV network, even though that isn't what Oprah and Discovery originally had planned for the site.
But, as it turns out, the most popular shows on the network have centered around black people, and have attracted black audiences en masse.
So, as one Discovery chief said at the time, when shows like Welcome To Sweetie Pies became a surprise hit for the network (paraphrasing), it would be unwise if they ignored the audience that made those shows hits - black audiences - and that they planned to introduce more programming that they think that audience would appreciate.
Since then, the network has continued to do just that.
It's announced its new Saturday night programming lineup, which will begin in April, and it includes the return of the original series Iyanla: Fix My Life and two new original docu-series premieres, Life With La Toya starring La Toya Jackson, and Raising Whitley starring actress and comedienne Kym Whitley.
Read the full details below via press release from OWN:
OWN: OPRAH WINFREY NETWORK ANNOUNCES NEW SATURDAY NIGHT PROGRAMMING LINEUP PREMIERING IN APRIL
Season Two of "Iyanla: Fix My Life" Premieres Saturday, April 13 at 9 p.m. with Explosive 90-minute Episode Featuring Rapper DMX Followed by Premiere of "Life With La Toya" at 10:30 p.m.
"Raising Whitley" Joins the Lineup Saturday, April 20 at 10 p.m.
Los Angeles - OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network announced today its new Saturday night programming lineup coming inApril including the return of the original series "Iyanla: Fix My Life" featuring inspirational life coach Iyanla Vanzant and two new original docu-series premieres, "Life With La Toya" starring La Toya Jackson and "Raising Whitley" starring actress and comedienne Kym Whitley.
Season two of "Iyanla: Fix My Life" returns to the primetime lineup Saturday, April 13 with a powerful 90-minute episode from 9-10:30 p.m. ET/PT. In the explosive season premiere, Iyanla travels to the hometown of multi-platinumrapper and actor DMX where she tackles one of the most controversial sessions of her career. Immediately following at 10:30 p.m. ET/PT is the premiere of "Life with La Toya," which gets up close and personal with La Toya Jackson as she juggles the many demands of her famous family, her life-long friends and her growing entertainment business empire.
One week later on Saturday, April 20 at 10 p.m. ET/PT, the new comedy docu-series "Raising Whitley" joins the Saturday night lineup. The new series stars actress and comedienne Kym Whitley who along with her chaotic collective of friends, come together as a family to raise her young son.
Saturday, April 13
9:00-10:30 p.m. ET/PT "Iyanla: Fix My Life" (season premiere with DMX)
10:30-11:00 p.m. ET/PT "Life With La Toya" (series premiere)
Saturday, April 20
9:00-10:00 p.m. ET/PT "Iyanla: Fix My Life" (all-new episode with Sheree Whitfield and her ex-husband Bob Whitfield)
10:00-10:30 p.m. ET/PT "Raising Whitley" (series premiere)
10:30-11:00 p.m. ET/PT "Life With La Toya" (all-new episode)
Series descriptions follow:
"Iyanla: Fix My Life"
Season Two Premieres Saturday, April 13 at 9 p.m. ET/PT
Iyanla Vanzant, accomplished author, inspirational speaker, talk show host and living testament to the value in life's valleys and the power of acting on faith; goes behind closed doors and deep inside the most private parts of people's lives for emotional, riveting conversations. Season two features powerful episodes with multi-platinum rapper and actor DMX and former "Real Housewives of Atlanta" star Sheree Whitfield. In the season premiere, Iyanla travels to DMX's hometown of Yonkers, New York. Things go awry as DMX's emotions run high and his temper takes over. In the second episode, Iyanla works with reality star Sheree Whitfield on her relationship with her ex-husband, former NFL star Bob Whitfield. Iyanla sits down with the couple to talk about the role of co-parenting in spite of their contentiousdivorce. Secrets are revealed, truths are uncovered and emotions run high as Sheree and Bob reveal how they really feel about each other. "Iyanla: Fix My Life" is produced by Harpo Studios and executive produced by Jill Van Lokeren, Jon Sinclair and Terry Goulder.
"Life With La Toya"
Series Premiere Saturday, April 13 at 10:30 p.m. ET/PT
"Life With La Toya" takes viewers inside the outrageous world of La Toya Jackson - the wild card of one of showbiz's most famous families - as she tackles love, career and maybe even parenthood, all on her own unpredictable terms. The new reality series gets up close and personal as La Toya hunts for a new house, builds new business ventures, contemplates starting a family and perhaps the biggest of all --- jumps into the dating pool for the first time, ever. On board for her new adventures are La Toya's devoted business partner Jeffré, her legendary mom and dad, a pair of meddlesome matchmakers, a magician, a lovelorn lifeguard and La Toya's lifelong best gal-pal Kathy Hilton (yes, Paris' mom). La Toya also opens up about her tumultuous past darkened by an abusive ex-husband, the death of her brother and family feuds. "Life With La Toya" is produced by World of Wonder Productions and executive produced by Fenton Bailey, Randy Barbato, Tom Campbell and Jeremy Simmons with Ja-Tail Television and executive producers La Toya Jackson and Jeffré Phillips.
Series Premiere Saturday, April 20, 10 p.m. ET/PT
"Raising Whitley" is a humorous, poignant new docu-series following actress and comedienne Kym Whitley and her riotous collective of friends - whom she calls "The Village" - as they attempt to do something none of them have ever done before: raise a baby... together. When Kym signed up to mentor a troubled young girl, she never imagined she'd get a call from the hospital saying, "Your baby is ready." After learning that her mentee exited the maternity ward leaving only Kym's contact information, Kym experienced a cataclysmicmoment. With less than an hour to make a life-changing decision - and to do a lifetime of soul-searching - Kym chose to become a mother. The Village banded together to help Kym bring up baby Joshua the best they knowhow, but sometimes it's hard to tell who is more mature - Joshua or the adults tasked with raising him. Over the season, Kym learns the chaotic realities of becoming a full-time mom: She realizes that, while Craigslist may be perfect for finding an old couch, it's not ideal for finding a new nanny; she survives Joshua's first haircut; she gets her groove back on a manhunt with her girlfriends; and she discovers that being "just friends" with Joshua's "daddy" may not be that simple. "Raising Whitley" is produced by Pilgrim Studios and executive produced by Craig Piligian, Melodie Calvert and Kym Whitley.