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Oprah Begins Her Adventure Into Scripted TV at the OWN 2013 Upfronts

*UPDATED 7/11/2013*

The Oprah Winfrey Network since its inception has struggled to find an audience, and create or acquire some content that will motivate viewers to turn on OWN. With the relative success of Sweetie Pies, Our America with Lisa Ling, Six Little McGhees and In the Bedroom with Dr. Laura Berman, The Oprah Winfrey Network has decided to expand by launching 7 new shows in 2013, 2 of which will be scripted and Executive Produced by Tyler Perry. OWN has also acquired Tyler Perry’s series For Better Or Worse, which previously aired on TBS. Acquiring Tyler Perry and 3 of his original series may give the OWN the boost in ratings that it desperately needs. In 2013 The Oprah Winfrey Network will offer viewers 12 returning series and 13 brand new ones.


OPRAH'S NEXT CHAPTER (Sunday, May 26 from 9-10 p.m.)
Oprah Winfrey sits down with Tyler Perry at his home. The two friends discuss his life and career, how he has navigated Hollywood on his own terms and his creative process behind OWN's first two scripted shows. "Oprah's Next Chapter" is OWN's award-winning primetime series featuring Oprah's in-depth interviews with today's biggest newsmakers and celebrities. The series has delivered some of the network's highest ratings reaching millions of viewers worldwide. Join the conversation on Twitter using #NextChapter.

TYLER PERRY COMES TO OWN: BEHIND THE SCENES (Sunday, May 26 from 10-10:30 p.m. and 10:30-11 p.m.)
The two half-hour back-to-back specials give viewers an inside look at the making of Tyler Perry’s new series coming to OWN – “The Haves and the Have Nots” and “Love Thy Neighbor.” We’ll go straight to the action at Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta, Georgia to see the inner workings of the entertainment mogul’s empire and what it takes to create the anticipated new series. The two-part special will offer unprecedented access inside the essence of the Perry process, from making business decisions in his barber’s chair, to spontaneously changing up a scene. See first-hand what drives the multi-hyphenate’s passion for entertaining audiences around the world.

NEWS ALERT: 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.

New Series…..

Life with La Toya (Premieres April 13th @10:30pm) 12 additional episodes were ordered and will premiere early 2014
Life With La Toya opens a view into the daily life of La Toya Jackson. The series will show Jackson as she settles into her newest home, expands her business portfolio and dives back into the dating scene in order to create her own family. It also features La Toya telling the stories of her past such as her ex-husband and the death of her brother. Contrary to reports, Michael Jackson's children will only appear in one episode and are not featured within the series

THE HAVES AND THE HAVE NOTS (Tuesdays from 9-10 p.m. beginning May 28) OWN has doubled their season order from 16 to 32 episodes!
The Haves and the Have Nots” is a new television drama which 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. From the outside, the Cryer’s are the enviable face of success and wealth, but behind the veil, the family’s dysfunction threatens to destroy their world of privilege. Cryer family patriarch Jim Cryer (John Schneider, “Dukes of Hazzard”) is a powerful judge whose double-life, including tawdry affairs with high-priced escorts, puts his family and political ambitions at risk. His wife, Katheryn Cryer (Renée Lawless, “Wicked”), is the ultimate matriarch portraying a loving and dutiful wife, but she is willing to do anything to protect her family’s status. Their son Wyatt (Aaron O’Connell) is a troubled angry jock who cares little for his own image and finds himself in and out of rehab. His sister Amanda (Jacyln Betham), a struggling law student, tries harder to live up to her parents’ expectations, but unknowingly has befriended a scurrilous young woman, Candace Young, with the power to ruin the entire family. Hanna Young (Crystal Fox) is the Cryer’s maid and the matriarch of her family. Despite having no money, she has found other types of wealth through religion and virtue. She prides herself on her dutiful son Benny (Tyler Lepley), the glue who helps keep the family together. Hanna does have one dark secret, however, her estranged daughter Candace (Tika Sumpter, “Gossip Girl”) --- a manipulative opportunist who will stop at nothing to get what she wants. In a bizarre coincidence, Candace is shocked to find out that her newfound friend Amanda’s father is Jim Cryer, the very man who has been paying her for sex and who also employs Candace’s mother as his family’s maid. Armed with this knowledge, the dramatic stage is set for what will be, in Candace’s eyes, the opportunity of a lifetime. Join the conversation on Twitter using #HavesandHaveNots

LOVE THY NEIGHBOR (Wednesdays from 9-10 p.m. beginning May 29; two back-to-back half-hour episodes) “Love Thy Neighbor” is a half-hour comedy set at The Love Train Diner a family run restaurant where every day the menu serves up good food, great laughs, valuable life lessons and a whole lot of love. Diner owner and feisty family matriarch Hattie Mae Love (Patrice Lovely, “A Madea Christmas”) has her hands full not only managing her customers but her family drama, too. Her daughter Linda (Kendra C. Johnson, “Phat Girlz”) splits her time between Hattie’s home and the apartment she shares with her philandering husband. Linda’s son Danny (Andre Hall, “Goodbye LA”), a recent college grad, moves into a bachelor pad with his best friend Sam (Jonathan Chase, “Chemistry”) and lands a job at a hot internet design firm. He quickly establishes himself as a rising star…that’s when he’s not distracted by Sam’s hard-partying ways and their beautiful co-workers Marianna (Zulay Henao, “The Fighter”) and Drew (Darmirra Brunson, “Sunset Junction”). Meanwhile, Uncle Floyd (Palmer Williams, “House of Payne”) is an ever-present thorn in the Love family’s side. Like old luggage, they can never seem to get rid of him. Join the conversation on Twitter using #LoveThyNeighbor

Tyler Perry’s For Better or Worse (Premieres October 4 2013)
Led by the comical, over-the-top antics of Marcus and Angela Williams, the ensemble follows three couples: Marcus and Angela, Joseph and Leslie, and Richard and Keisha who are at various stages of their relationships as they weather the ups-and-downs of married life and dating.

The new OWN series “Millionaire Mama’s Boy” explores the dynamic relationship between former WNBA basketball star Pamela McGee and her 25-year-old son, Denver Nuggets center, JaVale McGee. Famous for being domineering on and off the court, Pamela is not only JaVale’s mom, she’s also his business manager, working to build an empire while trying to keep a tight rein on the glitz and girls that come with the life of an NBA star. Meanwhile, Pamela’s managing her own life, which consists of her equally fabulous single girlfriends who also have sons coming up in the league. When Pamela needs someone to laugh with or a shoulder to cry on, she turns to her girls. Like Pamela, they are single mothers raising their sons while dating and chasing their own ambitions. With her hectic schedule, Pamela relies on her “manny” Jay to get things done. She trusts him to oversee her mansion, bank accounts and properties. While her friends think there could be a love connection, Pamela and Jay deny it – but they certainly fight like a married couple. Like any good mother, Pamela is a force to be reckoned with, and no one is going to stop Mama McGee from taking care of her own. After all, she is basketball royalty herself. They may be crazy, loud and a little wild, but family’s what it’s all about for the McGees and their friends. Ultimately, it’s a show about family, love and the unbreakable bond between a mother and her son; all seven feet of him. Join the conversation on Twitter using #MillionaireMamasBoy.

HOUSTON BEAUTY (Premieres 2013)
“Houston Beauty" (working title) follows Miss Glenda Jemison, the owner and director of Franklin Beauty School, the oldest continuously operated licensed beauty school in Texas. The Jemison family may be established pillars of the community but their trainees come from all walks of life. While trying to balance school with their erratic home lives, many of these students do whatever it takes to make ends meet: Whether working behind makeup counters, as kitchen beauticians or exotic dancers, these tough and talented pupils all share the pursuit of a better life. Join the conversation on Twitter using #HoustonBeauty.

Golden Sisters (Premieres Saturday June 1st 2013)
Golden Sisters is a real life comedy following the hilarious adventures of Mary, Josie and Teresa, three sisters who shot to fame after a web video of the ladies watching a celebrity sex tape went viral. With Mary in her eighties and her twin sisters not far behind, these raucous women are not your average seniors. Between running a successful salon and giving out colorful advice to their growing online fan base, these spirited, lovable ladies share their outrageous opinions on everything from sex and dating, to celebrities and pop culture. One minute they are at each other’s throats, and the next they’re best friends sharing a lifetime of memories and providing an endless supply of laughs.

The Customer is Always Right (Premieres 2013)
A series that show instances where a nationwide company hires two customers to work alongside company executives for a week

Raising Whitley (Already Premiered, comes on Saturdays @10 pm 2013) 10 additional episodes were ordered and will premiere early 2014
“Raising Whitley” (working title) is a humorous and poignant new docu-series following actress and comedienne Kym Whitley and her chaotic collective of friends – whom she calls "The Village” – as they attempt to do something none of them have ever done before: raise a baby…together. When Kym signed up for the Big Sister program to mentor a troubled young girl, she never imagined she'd get a call from the hospital saying, "Your baby is ready for collection." After learning that her mentee exited the maternity ward leaving only Kym’s contact information, Kym experienced a cataclysmic moment. With less than an hour to make a life-changing decision – and to do a lifetime of soul-searching – Kym chose to become a mother. The Village banded together to help Kym bring up baby Joshua Whitley the best they know how, but sometimes it's hard to tell who is more mature – baby Joshua or the adults tasked with raising him.

Police Women of Dallas (Already Premiered, will complete its run April 13th)
Police Women of Dallas is the fourth installment of TLC's Police Women Reality Documentary series, which follows three police officers and a detective of the Dalla Police Department in Dallas, Texas. Despite not being renewed by TLC, the Oprah Winfrey Network ordered a second season which features three new cast members

Dogfellas (Premieres 2013)
Dogfellas” (working title) follows James “Head” Guiliani, a former street enforcer for the mafia and one of John Gotti’s most trusted men, whose life-changing encounter with a stray pup inspired him to open Brooklyn’s top dog grooming parlor. In addition to pampering pooches, Head rescues dogs, and his life is as complicated now as it was with the mob. With a constant battle to pay the bills, a fiery wife who doesn’t always share his love for canines, and a staff who spend more time primping themselves than the pets,Head has his hands full. From old ‘associates,’ to thrilling rescue missions, to his wife, Head tries to maintain some semblance of normalcy in his bizarre, heartfelt, and hilarious new life.

Blackboard Wars (Already Premiered)
The series encompasses John Mcdonogh High School a school stricken with violence and failing academic performance, as they work to transform the school into the best it's been in years. Steve Bar and new principal Marvin Thompson have trained the new staff to maintain a standard for student behavior and daily attendance all the while providing a safe environment. Viewers also see challenges the staff face as their students struggle with a range of emotionally demanding obstacles which includes teenage pregnancy, gang violence, homelessness and drug abuse.

NY ER (Already Premiered)
A look at a life inside the crowded emergency rooms of some of America’s best hospitals

Returning to OWN….

Oprah’s Next Chapter will continue to air new episodes Sundays at 9pm. Oprah’s Master Class and Oprah: Where are They Now, both returned to the network in March airing new episodes. The break out hit on OWN last fall, Iyanla: Fix My Life will begin to air new episodes sometime this spring. 6 additional episodes were ordered and will begin airing July 20thOur America with Lisa Ling will return for a 5th Season after she takes a break to spend time with her newborn baby. Six Little Mcghees has been renewed for season 2. Welcome to Sweetie Pies will return to OWN for its 3rd season July 2013.

Breezy's Recap.....

It has taken me a while to warm up to the Oprah Winfrey Network. In the beginning, I was upset about Oprah’s unwillingness to bring the soaps; One Life to Live, and All My Children, over to her network, where I think they would have been a nice fit and it would have given the channel the initial boost that it needed. Thank you Oprah! I will be watching July 20th.  Unfortunately, Oprah did not agree so I had no inclination to watch any show on OWN. Eventually, curiosity got the better of me and I tuned in to see what kind of programming existed on the Oprah Winfrey Network, most of it was hard to watch, it felt like she was preaching good morals and how to be a better person to me and I had no interest in most of the shows that OWN had to offer. One of my college professors had the entire class watch an episode of Our America for Lisa Ling, for a class project, and after that I was hooked on the show. Eventually I branched out and watched one or two other things OWN had to offer like; Welcome to Sweetie Pies, and Blackboard Wars. OLTL and AMC have found new homes on and with OWN’s new development slate I will definitely be tuning in for more shows this year. My family and I love Tyler Perry’s For Better or Worse, and will most likely be checking out; the Have’s and the Have Nots, and Love thy Neighbor; I will also review their premiers on this blog. Is there anything else you want me to review? What will you be watching? Let me know in the comments.


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