Last week Oprah canceled Rosie O'Donnell's show and this week almost 20% of the staff at OWN lost their jobs. One person who did not lose her job was Oprah. I know it is tough to fire God, but the network sucks and unless they start planning on running Oprah 24 hours a day they need some better ideas and a better format. I have had some clients who have pitched shows to OWN over the past year and a half. They were some really great shows that ended up on other networks and have had decent success. One is even kind of a hit and one bombed after a week. The rest are all nice filler programs that will keep getting renewed for a few seasons. OWN rejected them all. Even though most were focused towards a female audience, my clients heard things like, "they are not female enough," or "ideally we would like 24 hours of Oprah but with different female hosts." The producers of the show that is now a really big hit on another female oriented cable network were told, "I have been in business for 25 years and this is the worst idea I have seen." Of course the only business the executive had ever done was working on Oprah's show. See, this is the thing. Lots of the major decision makers have only worked on Oprah's show and somehow that makes them experts on the world of television programming. Oprah had thousands of guests and gave three or four of them television shows. That is not a very good ratio. Basically these executives have been trying to duplicate what Oprah did with Dr. Phil and Rachael Ray, but don't have Oprah telling them everyday to watch the shows and having them on once a month to reinforce it.
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Yes, it is great to have an idea of what you want your network to be, but you need to be willing to adapt if hits come your way. Does anyone remember what Bravo used to be back in the day? It used to run art house movies, opera and ballet and was the only place on basic cable you get some nudity if you were lucky. Then they decided to give Queer Eye a shot. Totally changed their network a destination network.