OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network has given a straight to series order to Crazy.Sexy.Life., a new original docu-series about the fast-paced lives of four girlfriends living in New York City. The show is getting a high-profile sneak preview on September 3 behind the fall finale of Tyler Perry’s drama series The Haves And The Have Nots before the official series premiere in early 2014. Crazy.Sexy.Life hails from Core Media Group, marking the first series developed internally at the company since its rebrand and relaunch last year under Marc Graboff. “Set against the backdrop of America’s most vibrant and competitive city, this show details what real life is all about for a quartet of very different personalities who have embraced one another as ‘family’ for more than a decade, and who depend on one another unconditionally,” said OWN president Sheri Salata. Here’s the network’s description of the new show:
The May 28-29 debuts of Tyler Perry‘s new original scripted series for OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network will be preceded by an Oprah’s Next Chapter episode May 26 featuring a Winfrey interview with Perry. It will be immediately followed by Tyler Perry Comes To OWN: Behind The Scenes, a special about the making of the two series, drama The Haves And The Have Nots and comedy Love Thy Neighbor. The Haves And Have Nots premieres May 28 at 9 PM, while Love Thy Neighbor launches May 29 at 9 PM with two back-to-back episodes.
Additionally, OWN has greenlighted two new unscripted series: Millionaire Mama’s Boy, about the dynamic relationship between WNBA star Pamela McGee and her NBA star son JaVale, and Houston Beauty, about the world of a Texas beauty school. Here are the network’s descriptions:
OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network this morning announced four new unscripted series for 2013, including docu-series Raising Whitley, about comedienne Kym Whitley and her friends; Dogfellas, about a mobster-turned-dog groomer; and Blackboard Wars, about the efforts to improve a troubled New Orleans high school. OWN also has given a series order to Golden Sisters, the special/backdoor pilot about three frisky octogenarian sisters that aired last month. Additionally, the network has set May 29 as a premiere date for its first scripted series from Tyler Perry, drama The Haves and the Have Nots and half-hour comedy Love Thy Neighbor. “All of these new programs reflect the best of the human spirit. From the funny to the dramatic, we are always shooting for to-the-bone real,” said Sheri Salata, president, OWN. Returning with new episodes this year are OWN’s three Oprah series, Oprah’s Master Class, Oprah: Where Are They Now? and Oprah’s Next Chapter as well as Iyanla: Fix My Life. Upcoming guests for the network’s flagship Oprah’s Next Chapter include Drew Barrymore, LL Cool J and Whitney Houston’s mother Cissy Houston on the one year anniversary of the singer’s death. Here are descriptions of OWN’s new and returning series:
Although the goals were set independently, David Zaslav says that his joint venture with Oprah Winfrey is growing fast enough that it doesn’t have to expand to 85M homes — from 80M now — to fulfill his prediction that it will break even in the second half of 2013. “The ratings growth has been fantastic,” he told investors and analysts on Day 2 of the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference. The “cherry on top,” he says, is that “we’re the home for Tyler Perry on television.” On Saturdays, OWN ranks first or second with black women, attracting more of the demo than ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC combined.
Zaslav’s comment about OWN reflects his overall optimism about the state of his company and the programming business. He acknowledged that ad sales were slow in October. Discovery was “hurt more by the Olympics than we expected” — in part due to his decision not to schedule strong shows against the games. But since the election both volume and pricing have been “quite good.” He warns that the outlook “could change a week or two from now” if there’s no compromise in Washington to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff, although “it’s getting pretty late for [the negotiations to avoid the fiscal cliff] to have an impact” in Q4.
Long-time friends (and the two richest African Americans in showbiz) Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry are now forging a business partnership. OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network has inked an exclusive multi-year deal with Perry. Under the pact, he will executive produce, write and direct two new scripted series for a mid-2013 premiere on OWN, marking the network’s first foray into scripted programming. “I have been looking forward to the day when we would be in the position to enter the world of scripted television. That day has come,” said Oprah Winfrey, OWN’s CEO. “We are all energized by the opportunity to collaborate with Tyler who has a proven track record for producing highly successful cable series.”
OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network today unveiled its summer primetime lineup that includes six new series – Are You Normal, America?, Lives On Fire, Lovetown, USA, Million Dollar Neighborhood, Real Life: The Musical and Super Saver Showdown. The new Friday-Monday schedule includes fresh episodes of Oprah’s Next Chapter are on tap as well as the return of the documentary series Our America With Lisa Ling, which comes back June 10. Here’s the complete schedule:
Ahead of Discovery Communications’ upfront presentation in New York this afternoon, OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network announced the green light for four primetime unscripted series, Elura and Michele Take Staten Island, about 2 Staten Island best friends who are former prosecutors, Iyanla Fix My Life, starring inspirational speaker Iyanla Vanzant, Married to the Army: Alaska, about army wives in Alaska, and Six Little McGhees, about a family with sextuplets. Additionally, the network has renewed Oprah’s Master Class, which has posted ratings increases in Season 2, for a third season and has ordered 10 additional episodes of one of the fledgling network’s most popular shows, docu-series Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s, about the family behind the popular St. Louis soul food restaurant. OWN also announced that producer Barry Poznick (Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?) and comedienne Kim Coles (Living Single) have been tapped as hosts of the upcoming game show Are You Normal, America?, which premieres this summer. It is based on the Am I Normal segment on the Oprah Winfrey Show.
OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network has picked up 3 new original series to premiere later this year, Lovetown, USA; Lives On Fire; and Are You Normal, America? “Each of our new shows is right on brand and aligned with Oprah’s intention to bring our audience meaningful, entertaining programming,” said Sheri Salata, president, OWN. Added Erik Logan, president, OWN, “We feel really good about the direction the network is heading in 2012 and we’re just getting started.” Here are descriptions of the series:
Discovery CFO Bradley Singer couldn’t have been surprised to be asked at Citigroup’s Global Media, Entertainment and Telecommunications Conference about what’s up with OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network. Bankers and investors are still waiting to see significant progress at Discovery’s struggling, high-profile joint venture with the talk show host and entrepreneur. But his answer was also familiar: Wait. Now that Oprah’s running the operation “we feel real good about the direction the network is headed in. It’s just building block after building block.” The channel’s financial prospects, he added, depend on how well it can build its viewing audience.
Most of the other questions were a lot easier considering that Discovery has one of the highest profit margins in cable programming. Singer says the ad market continues to improve. “We have not been impacted yet by anything you might read” about weakness in the overall economy. Meanwhile channels that have taken off over the last year, led by ID: Investigation Discovery, have “that much room to grow in terms of advertising.” He’s also optimistic about The Hub, the joint venture with Hasbro. “Long term, that could be
Tom Shadyac’s documentary I Am will kick off OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network’s Super Soul Sunday programming block on January 1, 2012. Onetime hit feature director Shadyac’s life took quite a turn after he suffered a concussion in a cycling …
This is now happening — I have learned that Discovery Communications COO Peter Liguori will be leaving the company after two years. The veteran TV executive is expected to stick around until the end of the year. (He started at Discovery in January 2010.) He will not be replaced. Liguori, who previously ran Fox and FX, is the latest top Discovery Communications executive to exit as the company’s president and CEO David Zaslav now faces three upcoming major departures in his upper ranks; Discovery Channel president Clark Bunting and Discovery Communications CFO Bradley Singer both announced earlier this year that they will leave at the beginning of 2012. Bunting’s announcement came a couple of months after he was made to report to TLC General Manager Eileen O’Neill in an executive restructuring. Despite beating earnings expectations in the just-reported third quarter, Discovery Communications continues to struggle with its joint ventures, especially OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network, which sucked up another $12 million investment in 3Q. Liguori was hands-on involved in the January launch of OWN and in May he was named interim CEO of the fledgling cable network following the departure of Christina Norman. Two months later, Winfrey took over the CEO position, and Liguori’s involvement decreased to a point of him having no day-to-day role at the channel. In addition to representing Discovery Communications in its three joint ventures — OWN; The Hub, which also has had a hard time; and 3Net — Liguori’s duties as COO included oversight of Marketing, Discovery Studios, Corporate Communications and Corporate Affairs, Business Affairs, and Media Technology, Production and Operations.
UPDATE 6:15AM: Discovery just put out a release announcing Liguori’s departure:
Silver Spring, Md. – Discovery Communications today announced that Chief Operating Officer Peter Liguori has decided to depart the company at the end of the year. Liguori was responsible for launching numerous creative and brand marketing initiatives around the world, including overseeing the successful launches of Discovery’s joint ventures in The Hub, OWN, and 3net.
President and CEO David Zaslav said, “Pete’s leadership, enthusiasm and creative vision have brought a fresh and important perspective to Discovery.