OWN Adds Five Prime-Time Series Ahead of Crucial Upfront
Oprah Winfrey's OWN network announced five new prime-time shows ahead of its presentation to advertisers Thursday afternoon, hoping that its next round of programming will help revive the struggling network.
OWN, which is jointly held with Discovery Communications, will add four reality programs that attempt to channel the success of other niche reality shows: "Elura and Michele Take Staten Island," about two "former prosecutors who know how to tell it like it is " and their families; "Ivanla Fix My Life," focusing on a self-help guru who helps people get it together; "Married to the Army: Alaska," about army wives in that state; and "Six Little McGhees," about a couple that juggles marriage, a family business and six toddlers.
The network will also add a game show called "Are You Normal, America?"
It renewed "Oprah's Master Class" and added more episodes of "Welcome to Sweetie Pie's."
The lineup changes come shortly after OWN laid off 30 employees and canceled the Rosie O' Donnell talk show, which executives once viewed as a strong contender.
Ms. Winfrey told "CBS This Morning" on Monday that she had made "101 mistakes" when launching OWN, saying that she might have chosen to do something else if she had understood how difficult it would be. The Queen of Talk has run into roadblocks as she tries to create enough compelling programming to fill the lineup.
Ratings have remained relatively on par to Discovery Health, the network OWN replaced a year and a half ago.
OWN has seen a slight uptick in ratings as Ms. Winfrey's presence on the schedule has increased. Her interviews with Lady Gaga, Whitney Houston's family and Steven Tyler ranked among its best performances with audiences.
In the most recent quarter, OWN had a 21% jump in ratings , with a daily average of 180,000 viewers. The company also announced this week a renewed distribution agreement with Comcast, which will add OWN to 3 million homes, making it available in 83 million households.