Oprah Winfrey is part of an elite group of Black entertainers who has transcended race, capturing the hearts and minds of a diverse audience. However, things may be changing for Oprah’s OWN network, which initially prided itself on diversity.
OWN, which was launched by Discovery Communications in January 2011, has had its up and downs with ratings which isn’t uncommon for a new network, but the standout series on OWN has execs rethinking their strategy.
The success of OWN’s reality docuseries “Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s” has industry insiders wondering if Oprah’s struggling network needs more African-American based programming.
This lone hit follows Miss Robbie Montgomery, a retired backup singer for Ike and Tina Turner in the 1960s who is now the owner of a successful family soul food restaurant in St. Louis. Mixed with entertaining family antics, “Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s” is one of the highest-rated series on the network.
“Sweetie Pie’s,” which debuted on the network in October, has gained an average audience of 418,000 versus the usual 216,000 for the network, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Now that the show’s first season has ended, it is rumored that OWN’s bigwigs are seriously considering adding more shows that would appeal to an African-American audience.
OWN President Erik Logan says they will be “nurturing” the success of the program rather than doing a 180 and focusing entirely on shows geared toward Black audiences.
While many believe the show is appealing to a majority-Black audience, others wonder why it doesn’t seem to have found appeal among other demographics.
If you haven’t seen "Sweetie Pie’s," get a look here.
Should Oprah add more African-American related programming to her OWN Network? Share your thoughts.
Is Oprah in over her OWN head?