There will be even more Oprah Winfrey on OWN — the network has picked up the network television rights to Lee Daniels’ The Butler, toplined by OWN’s CEO and star Winfrey and Forest Whitaker. OWN is getting the first broadcast window behind pay television beginning in 2017. The Weinstein Company-produced sleeper hit recently surpassed $100 million at the box office. “This is a film that every American should see and we look forward to its debut on OWN,” said Sheri Salata, president, OWN. “Lee Daniels’ The Butler tells the story of a White House butler who served seven American presidents over three decades.
Turns out Tyler Perry’s For Better Or Worse is definitely the former and not the latter on its new home on OWN. Having left TBS and moved over to OWN now, the Season 3 premiere of the Perry produced and directed sitcom gave the Oprah Winfrey Network its most watched Wednesday night in the outlet’s almost three-year history with 1.124 million. That was driven mostly by the 9 PM third cycle debut drew 1.5 million total viewers and the 9:30 PM episode pulled in 1.6 million viewers with 1.23 and 1.29 ratings respectively among women 25-54. The previous Wednesday high for OWN was May 29, 2013 when the network got 1.092 million. That was the same night Perry’s comedy Love Thy Neighbor debuted on OWN. For Better Or Worse joins Perry’s drama The Haves And The Have Nots as well as Love Thy Neighbor on the network.
We all know that OWN is rebounding because of the soaps and Tyler Perry. But Oprah Winfrey said in an interview with New York magazine that her network’s early ratings struggles came because it was “too stoic and too serious”. “I have a tendency to look at everything from the point of view of: What is going to be meaningful, and uplift people? That can become too stoic and too serious — which is the same issue I suffered with at the magazine in the beginning. It needed more humor”, Winfrey told New York. “So we [began] looking for lighter fare. Welcome To Sweetie Pie’s works. Iyanla: Fix My Life was also a turning point. Having programming that was in alignment with the vision but also left the space to widen the lane for the vision. If it were up to me, I’d be doing [Winfrey’s Sunday talk show] Super Soul Sunday conversations all the time.” Winfrey told People Magazine that last summer she suffered “the symptoms of a nervous breakdown” and reached her “breaking point” because OWN was struggling publicly. She stepped in as CEO in 2011 of the network co-owned by Discovery Communications and has seen a ratings rise pretty much ever since, owing in part to a mega-deal with Perry that calls for three new series, soap operas, and her Oprah’s …
Just under two months after they ordered 16 more episodes of the freshman Tyler Perry-produced drama The Haves And The Have Nots, OWN today doubled the episodes it wants for his other show Love Thy Neighbor. The network has ordered 26 new episodes of the family restaurant comedy to a total of 52 for the season. With the current cycle of Love Thy Neighbor wrapping up tonight with a two-episode finale, the new episodes are scheduled to debut in January 2014. The series debuted on May 29 to the second strongest ratings in OWN’s history. It has averaged more than 1 million viewers a week with a 0.88 rating among adults 25-54. At the same time as OWN doubled its Love Thy Neighbor order, they also added another four episodes of The Haves And The Have Nots to the 16 additional episodes of the drama they ordered in late June. The Haves And The Have Nots was the biggest debut in OWN’s short history when it premiered on May 28. Today’s new episodes brings the Tyler Perry Studios-produced property up to 36 ordered episodes. The Have And Have Nots’ initial 16-episode order will run to September 3, with the newly ordered episodes to air in early 2014.
Discovery CEO David Zaslav says that OWN beat his forecast that it would begin to generate cash in the second half of this year. He told analysts this morning, in his Q2 report, that Discovery’s joint venture with Oprah Winfrey is “now cash flow positive and starting to pay down the investment Discovery has made in the venture.” He attributed the acceleration to the higher fees that pay TV distributors are shelling out for OWN vs its predecessor, Discovery Health. In addition, the channel’s rising ratings are “translating into significant advertising growth including signing over 30 new clients during this upfront, and driving double digit scatter pricing.” He singled out Tyler Perry’s Have And Have Nots and Love Thy Neighbor as “bona fide hits” that contributed to 39% ratings growth among women 25-to-54 in Q2. That was “the highest growth of any cable network” in the quarter and made OWN a top 20 network for women in June — and made it a top-3 network for African American women over the last eight weeks. Zaslav says that OWN’s “positive cash flow generation should continue to increase” with new shows including Perry’s third series, For Better Or For Worse, which makes its debut this fall.
TCA: OWN Orders Deion Sanders Reality Soap; Oprah To Chat With ‘The Butler’ Notables, Lohan Chat Date
Oprah Winfrey Network has ordered a new docu-series about “the crazy and chaotic family life” of former NFL star Deion Sanders. The network also announced this morning the next crop of celebs sitting down with Oprah for her Next Chapter franchise. The reality docu-series about Sanders – described by OWN as “football legend, baseball great, broadcaster, Hall of Famer, international superstar, businessman, educator and father” – is called It’s Prime Time and will premiere in early ’14.
Oprah’s Next Chapter chatters in August include the cast of The Butler – a.k.a. Lee Daniel’s The Butler – will undergo the Next Chapter treatment on August 11. Oprah herself is in the movie about Cecil Gaines, who served as head butler at the White House under eight presidents. She will sit down with fellow cast members Forest Whitaker, who plays Gaines in the film, and with David Oyelowo, as well as director Lee Daniels. The movie is set to open on August 16. One week after her sit-down with The Butler notables, OWN will unveil Oprah’s much-ballyhooed TV tete-a-tete with Lindsay Lohan, who is looking for yet another career re-boot after the Lifetime Liz Taylor flick thing didn’t work out so well. Other upcoming Next Chapters will pair O with Gloria Estefan and Tina Turner.
Online soaps All My Children and One Life To Live have found a network home. OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network has acquired the first 40 episodes of The OnLine Network’s revivals for a 10-week limited engagement that will bring the cancelled ABC daytime dramas back to daytime. Half-hour episodes of each show will air Monday through Thursday beginning Monday, July 15 with All My Children at 1 PM and One Life to Live at 3 PM. “These shows have proven to be very popular with a significant, loyal fan base, not to mention Oprah herself is a big fan,” said Erik Logan, president, OWN. Added Jeff Kwatinetz, CEO of the soaps’ producer Prospect Park, “We are really excited to bring OWN viewers and our audience at large an opportunity to catch up on All My Children and One Life to Live on traditional television.”
The Haves And The Have Nots is growing on the Oprah Winfrey’s network. OWN announced today that it has ordered 16 more episodes of the freshman Tyler Perry-produced drama. That brings the first season of the show up to 32 episodes. Haves And The Have Nots’ May 28 premiere was the network’s highest-rated debut ever. The series about the rich Cryer family and their hired help garnered 1.77 million viewers (1.57 in women 25-54) at 9 PM and another 1.8 million (1.67 in women 25-54) for its second original episode at 10 PM in late May. “Naturally, it is wonderful to have the network’s first scripted series score so resoundingly”, said OWN president Sheri Salata in a statement today. “Tyler’s fans and OWN viewers have responded to this guilty pleasure in record numbers, and we are happy to give them more of a good thing”. The series’ initial 16-episode order will run to September 3, with the newly ordered episodes to air in early 2014.
Global Showbiz Briefs: Éclair Group Raises $16.6M; OWN Heads To Oz; Depardieu Breaks Silence; LoveFilm Streams Dis Pics
France’s Éclair Group Raises $16.6M Digital Switch, Development
Here’s some good news for France’s troubled postproduction sector. The Éclair Group has raised €12.4M ($16.6M) to complete its digital transition and speed up development across all of its businesses. The recapitalization was financed by the company’s current management, France’s Fonds de Consolidation et Développement des Entreprises, and by Tarak Ben Ammar’s Quinta Communications. (Ben Ammar had acquired 43% of Éclair back in 2007 and was keen to merge it with his LTC Laboratories but was blocked by the competition authority at the time.) Éclair will also use the funds to strengthen its restoration business and to equip French cinemas in partnership with Deluxe and HP.
OWN Programming Heading Down Under
OWN and Discovery Networks International are planning a weekly block of OWN programming for Discovery Home & Health in Australia. Starting August 4, Aussie viewers will have access to shows that include Oprah’s Next Chapter, Super Soul Sunday, America With Lisa Ling and The Oprah Winfrey Show: Behind The Scenes. The Australia bow will follow the recent UK launch of OWN programming on TLC.
EXCLUSIVE: Wanda Sykes Presents Herlarious will air Saturday, July 13 and Saturday, July 20 at 10 PM on Oprah Winfrey’s OWN. The one-hour original comedy specials will be hosted and produced by Sykes and Page Hurwitz’s Push It Prods., in conjunction with Harpo Studios. The shows will be taped in front of a live studio audience at Harpo Studios in Chicago, the former home of The Oprah Winfrey Show. Scheduled to appear are emerging female stand-ups Andi Smith, Gloria Bigelow, Marina Franklin, Tracey Ashley, Carmen Lynch and Dominique Witten. Kym Whitley from OWN’s Raising Whitley is among those scheduled for a guest appearance. Sykes also will appear with her guests in a series of comedy shorts that will air throughout each hour. Sykes, Hurwitz and Harpo’s Jill Barancik executive produce. Longtime Sykes collaborators Lance Crouther (Wanda At Large) and Alyson Fouse (The Wanda Sykes Show) are writers on the project.
Listen to (and share) episode 37 of our audio podcast Deadline Big Media With David Lieberman. Deadline’s executive editor talks with host David Bloom about who’s likely to buy Hulu; whether OWN will pencil out for Discovery this year; Netflix plans to triple spending on original content; and whether the new News Corp. will scoop up the LA Times or other print publications.
It’s two for two for Tyler Perry on Oprah Winfrey’s OWN. The premiere of Perry’s comedy Love Thy Neighbor last night pulled in 1.65 million total viewers and a 1.4 rating in the W25-54 demo for its 9 PM debut. That’s the second highest debut of any show in OWN’s history. First place goes to the debut of Perry’s drama The Haves and the Have Nots, which premiered on May 28. The second episode of Love Thy Neighbor actually out performed the premiere. The 9:30 airing of the family restaurant comedy series garnered 1.8 million viewers with a 1.56 rating in the W25-54 demo. That’s a 9% rise in viewers and an 8% rise in the demo. The second episode of Love Thy Neighbor matches the viewership of the second episode of The Have and the Have Nots from the night before. Both series are produced by Tyler Perry Studios.
After a promo campaign that included Tyler Perry and Oprah Winfrey reprising their signature characters of Medea and Color Purple‘s Sofia and Perry guesting on Winfrey’s Next Chapter, Perry’s first series for Winfrey’s cable network OWN debuted last night. Drama The Haves And The Have Nots opened with as 1.77 million viewers (1.57 W25-54 rating) at 9 PM and another 1.8 million (1.67 W25-54 rating) for a second original episode at 10 PM. That was down from the debuts of Perry’s comedy series on TBS but marked the highest rated series debut in OWN’s history. The soapy Haves And The Have Nots, which was mostly panned by critics, is a take on Upstairs, Downstairs and follows the complicated dynamic between the rich and powerful Cryer family and the hired help who work in their opulent mansion set in Savannah, Georgia. The premiere episode built every quarter hour, growing +20% over the course of the 9 PM hour. Perry’s second series for OWN, comedy Love Thy Neighbor, premieres tonight with two back-to-back episodes. The ratings for The Haves And Have Nots come hours after Discovery Communications CEO David Zaslav said this morning that OWN is expected to swing into profitability this year.
Up to now the company promised that its joint venture network with Oprah Winfrey would break even on a cash flow basis in the second half of 2013. But CEO David Zaslav slightly raised the stakes this morning, promising those attending Sanford C. Bernstein’s Strategic Decisions Conference that “we’ll be making money on OWN.” The channel — which stumbled out of the gate in 2011 — is “ahead of where we thought it would be” and “finding enormous success for us.” For example, on Saturday night, when it runs original programming without Winfrey, “we’re the No. 1 network for African American women.” The comment buttressed Zaslav’s broader argument that the pay TV business is in good shape, and Discovery is doing especially well in that environment. Zaslav is unfazed by the seemingly growing number of consumers who say that they’re fed up with rising pay TV rates, and want distributors to offer channels a la carte or on low-priced tiers. “This is a very sturdy system,” he says. “Viewers really enjoy the basic package…I don’t see that being challenged.”
MIPTV Briefs: Keshet Int’l; AMC/Sundance; ‘Big Brother’; ‘Restless’; Bear Grylls; OWN UK; Warner TV Distribution
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Keshet International‘s UK office has hired producer Amelia Hann as head of unscripted programming to oversee a new factual production venture. Hann was most recently executive producer on Channel 4’s The Undateables and her other credits include the BAFTA winning Ross Kemp On Gangs, Wife Swap USA, Baby Bible Bashers, Scrapheap Challenge/Junkyard Wars and The Hunt For Britain’s Sex Traffickers.
OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network is quickly becoming the Oprah Winfrey & Tyler Perry Network. OWN has picked up Perry’s sitcom For Better Or Worse, ordering a third season of originals and acquiring the show’s existing 45 episodes. For Better Or Worse, which previously aired on TBS, is OWN’s third scripted series from Perry who last October signed an exclusive deal with the network for scripted fare. The first two series under the pact, sitcom Love Thy Neighbor and drama The Haves And The Have Nots, premiere in May. Season 3 of For Better Or Worse will debut this fall with the original cast set to return, including Tasha Smith, Michael Jai White, Crystle Stewart, Kent Faulcon, Kiki Haynes and Jason Olive. Production will begin in Atlanta in April.
For Better Or Worse, based on Perry’s Why Did I Get Married movies, was the third sitcom Perry did with TBS and Lionsgate’s Debmar-Mercury under Debmar-Mercury’s 10-90 model. All three received back orders from TBS after the original 10-episode runs, but For Better Or Worse‘s was smaller than the others, 35 episodes picked up last February. I hear that, after a total of 45 episodes, TBS passed on ordering more, and Perry, whose company produces For Better Or Worse, made the move to OWN. The first two series, House Of Payne and Meet The Browns, produced 222 and 140 episodes, respectively. They sold in broadcast syndication …
Ratings at the channel, a joint venture with Oprah Winfrey, are “ahead of where we thought we’d be,” Discovery CEO David Zaslav told analysts this morning. The audience was up in all 12 months of 2012, and was +36% for the full year. He’s also encouraged by the two series from Tyler Perry that are scheduled to launch in May: a drama, The Haves And The Have Nots, and a comedy, Love Thy Neighbor. “I’ve seen the scripts and they look strong,” he says. Winfrey is actively involved with the projects. Perry just “sent me some pictures and Oprah was in the control room,” Zaslav says. The bottom line: Discovery is “fully on track” to see OWN‘s cash flow break even in the second half of 2013. CFO Andy Warren adds that Discovery “achieved our objective” of providing less funding for OWN in 2012 than it did in 2011. “It is a big driver of our improvement in [earnings per share]” in the financial report the company released this morning. He adds that the company will update the Street in the second half of this year when “we see debt reduction and paydown of our obligation.”