Catching up with The OWN Network

I was excited and proud when Oprah decided to leave her talk show and helm a network through the Discovery Network.  When OWN premiered, the shows were geared toward redemption and living a better life.  Singer Shania Twain’s show was a yawn fest, Legendary model Beverly Johnson’s show, about her attempts to develop a better relationship with her daughter was painful to watch, and Winona Judd  got yet another chance to show us what a hot mess she is.  Even Kim Coles (from TV’s Living Single)hosted a game show.  Those shows tanked quickly.  OWN needed to re-bound fast so Oprah quickly made deals with Tyler Perry (who terminated his deal with TBS) and hired a new team of people who have helped make OWN a little profitable and watchable.

Notice I said “a little”.  Some shows on OWN are really entertaining.  Have you seen”Raising Whitley” starring comedian Kym Whitley?   The show is about Kym who was unexpectedly given a baby boy by a young girl she mentored.  Kym’s friends serve as the “Village” who help her raise young Joshua.  When it was announced Latoya Jackson would have a show, my reaction was… *face-palm* Aw lawd…whyyyyy? “Life with Latoya” is a frivolous concoction that goes down like cotton candy…  Light and airy with no real substance.   I have no interest in the 6 Little McGhee’s (about a family of sextuplets) and I am still trying to understand why “The Golden Sisters” are on the air.

Tyler Perry’s shows have always been irritating to me.  The writing is so weak and the plot’s so transparent you might as well read a book.  However, “The Haves and the Have Not’s” benefits from this because it’s a fun campy soap opera.  “Love Thy Neighbor” makes me want to pull my hair out. The main character(Hattie) grates on my nerves so much that I couldn’t watch, let alone figure out the plot.  I don’t even understand how “For Better or Worse” is still on the air.

There have been some reality shows on OWN that made me scratch my head and ask..“huh?”  I mean, who actually cares about Deion Sanders home life?  “Mom’s Got Game” featuring  ex WNBA player Pam McGee and her son who is in the NBA annoyed me.  I really didn’t care about her.   I’m more interested in seeing  a rookie NBA player go thru his first year on a team…..WITHOUT HIS MAMA HANGING AROUND!   “Flex and Shanice” looks promising.  I caught the first episode and was immediately drawn in. Most people know 90s pop sensation Shanice for her Grammy-nominated hit song, “I Love Your Smile” and actor Flex Alexander from his hit TV show, “One on One,” but few people know this fairytale couple both faced career stumbling blocks and hit financial rock bottom .  So they rented a house and moved their extended family in to help make ends meet.  The show will be back in the fall I think.

There is good stuff happening on the OWN network.  I mentioned Raising Whitley earlier but Oprah’s “Where are they Now ?” show is great.  The Oprah show archives are opened and we get to know what happened to the fat girl who was rejected by her father or what Screech from “Saved by the Bell” is doing.  I don’t like many reality shows but “Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s” is not bad.  I just want to eat Soul Food while watching it.  Oprah’s Master Class is fantastic.  Hearing the late Maya Angelou, Sidney Poitier, Quincy Jones and a host of other accomplished notables discuss their lives and what it took for them to get where they are can be very inspiring.  Super Soul Sunday is also great.  I really enjoy watching folks like India Arie talk about their spirituality, truths and life lessons.

Finally, we have Oprah Prime which showcases Oprah doing what she does best, interviewing the newsmakers and interesting people of today.

I’m looking forward to seeing how OWN continues to grow and evolve.  I hope she continues to produce shows like “Wanda Sykes Herlarious”.  I didn’t find it funny but neither is Saturday Night Live and that’s been around almost 40 years.



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