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September 4, 2015

Five Ways to Improve the OWN Lineup

by Bob Sassone, posted Nov 2nd 2010 5:00PM
OWNPretend you're one of the richest, most powerful people on television. And pretend you buy an entire network and you're going to create a new channel from scratch. What would you put on that channel?

You would think that if you were a very rich, very powerful person, adored by millions, that you'd put shows on that you might not be able do find on other channels. You'd want to make that network special, right? So you'd probably want to steer clear of reality shows, makeover shows, typical daytime fare and self-help, right?

Not if you own OWN.

As we told you the other day, the line-up was released for the Jan.1, 2011 launch of OWN, Oprah Winfrey's network. While it was safe to assume there would be a lot of the above on the schedule -- Dr. Phil and other Oprah-sponsored people giving advice, reality shows and other fare to cater to 'The Oprah Winfrey Show' demographic -- I truly wasn't prepared for how lackluster and lame the new shows would sound.

We have 'Ryan & Tatum: The O'Neals' and 'The Judds,' two reality shows that will follow celebrity families, in case you're looking for something to fill in the gap until 'Harry Loves Lisa' returns; 'In the Bedroom with Dr. Laura Berman,' which probably just sounds like it's a makeover show but will focus on sex; 'Miracle Detectives,' which isn't the next 'Touched by an Angel' or 'Highway to Heaven;' 'Enough Already with Peter Walsh,' which in my dreams is about why there are too many reality shows on the schedule but is actually about organizing your home;' 'The Gayle King Show;' and approximately nine shows that will revolve around Oprah and/or the last season of her show.

We also have something called 'Kidnapped By The Kids,' which sounds like one of those terrifying Lifetime movies where a family member is put in danger. Maybe it's something more positive, but if it is, they really have to change the title.

Yes, there are some shows that seem worthy and might even -- gasp! -- appeal to men, like Christina Ferrare's cooking show, a news series with Lisa Ling, and 'Oprah's Search For The Next TV Star' (even if it is reality) but it just seems like another network jammed with all the shows most people think we already have too much of. Rainn Wilson is in talks to bring something to the network, but even that show will be on the reality/spiritual/self-help end of the spectrum.

Dr. Phil'The Best of Dr. Phil?' Mother of god.

If I didn't write about television for a living, I can't imagine having any interest in watching OWN when it debuts on New Year's Day. Sure, I'm not in the OWN key demo, but this isn't just about male vs. female. This is about good TV vs. bad TV, and this lineup is downright depressing.

Think about it. There are a lot of shows OWN could do:

'Oprah's Book Club.' Wouldn't it be great to have a 30- or 60-minute version of the book club every month? Get a bunch of readers to sit around and talk about the latest Oprah pick. Where else can you see that on television, except for CSPAN?

Perhaps not many viewers are looking for a regular, accessible show where people sit around talking about books, but if anyone can make a show like that a success, it's Oprah.

'My Favorite Things.' The annual holiday episode where Oprah tells you what she's currently into -- and gives it all away to the studio audience-- is one of her viewers' favorite episodes (and mine too). Wouldn't it be fun for her to do this on a regular basis, completely surprising the audience every few weeks or every few months (to keep them guessing)? She could even take it on the road to communities that truly need help, like she did a few seasons ago.

'The OWN Concert Series.' What singer or band wouldn't love to do an hour-long concert for Oprah and her viewers? And with Oprah's pull, connections, and likability-factor, she could probably get anyone she wanted.

Quality non-fiction shows and documentaries. How about a show on the latest tech gadgets, or a show about affordable travel and hotels, or maybe a real game show or some hard news documentaries?

Scripted shows. Why not? Aren't there enough reality shows on TV?

OprahYes, the series that were announced are just the ones that will launch the network. Maybe some of these shows will vanish and be replaced by better shows and the network will naturally grow. I certainly hope so. We all dream of what we'd do if we had our own television network, and now Oprah does. It would really be a shame if it was a lost opportunity.

What would you like to see on OWN?
Reality29 (8.4%)
Celebrity interviews66 (19.1%)
Concerts81 (23.4%)
Cooking shows35 (10.1%)
Scripted shows97 (28.0%)
More shows with vampires38 (11.0%)

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Where are all of my favorite shows going to go?? Why is she taking over Discovery Health??? Where are all of my health/ER shows going?! WHY IS SHE DOING THIS?? *sobs* Discovery Health is literally the only reason I have TV.

November 10 2010 at 11:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I agree, the sooner the better.

November 03 2010 at 10:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

We don't need a OWN network. Weve had more than enough of Oprah to last forever!!!!!

November 03 2010 at 10:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Bob the suggestion of a monthly book club show is a great idea! i would definately watch

we have one in Australia called the 'first tuesday book club' seen the first tuesday of every month, and it is an excellent show with a host and two regular panelists and two guest panelists - usually authors but also playwrights, tv writers and famous book lovers who aren't writers.

each month two books are covered a new release and a 'classic' book and the discussions/arguements that ensue are great especially when you get some who hate the book and some who love it!

November 03 2010 at 10:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply


November 03 2010 at 9:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Are you KIDDING me?? A perfectly good channel (Discovery Health) is getting taken away for OWN! That is TRULY unfair! Mark my words: OWN will not last long. People will be complaining!!

November 03 2010 at 12:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Anonymous's comment

I am truly heartbroken that my favorite network is being taken off of the air. It's not like it's an unpopular channel or anything, either.

November 10 2010 at 11:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Well Bob, this lineup is exactly what I'd expect since it's proven SUCCESSFUL elsewhere and that's what a new network needs off the bat is to be successful. Later, she can do more experimental things.

Remember back in 1984-ish when the Fox network debuted ? It started off with typical fare at the time, a teen-based drama ("21 Jump St") and a sitcom ("Married with Children"), and it turned out pretty well.

November 03 2010 at 12:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Bob, you are brilliant! I wholeheartedly agree about your disappointment in this line up. Yet another Network I won't be watching. Oprah came out of the hideous "Jerry Springer" crazed decade smelling like a rose. So why is she now following the crowd of "snooze television?" These shows put me to sleep or send me straight to the CD player or a book...not that this is a bad thing...but why have a television at all? It's not like TV is affordable anymore. Just to have one necessitates all those inflated Cable bills. Your ideas are great and I love every one of them. Why doesn't she have a movie critic show ? I'm sick of the same old formats. She could have a movie critic show with a spin. Make it a critique of all the sets in the movies, the wardrobes, the design. Like, "how about that little Blue silk dress she wore to dinner in Hereafter?" Where do I get that? Come on Oprah, you have always been innovative and unique (or so we thought). Couldn't she have come up with something more exciting and different?

November 03 2010 at 12:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Wiltrud M Weis

Dear Oprah ! I have wached your Shows almost everyday & I'm so sad is going to end...I hope your Network is just as good....When I came over to the USA I startet watching your show , special what I liked most when you brought familys back togetter, or when you where looking to get People reunited who where giving up for adoption for unknown reason...
Opeah stay as you're you're great

God Bless you

Wiltrud M Weis

November 03 2010 at 9:46 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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