Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Oprah & OWN


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.


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.

58 comments:

Ms Cool said...

I think it is insulting that OWN thinks I want to see a bunch of talk shows and lifetime-style movies. I think I'm in their target audience and I can't be the only woman who doesn't want to watch a bunch of melodrama.

uberbaldy said...

Same thing can be said for TLC. It used to stand for The Learning Channel but seriously look a their programming and what learning are they providing? They've gone the same route as Bravo and switched their entire focus and imo for the worse. Also they do get a bit annoyed when you call them The Learning Channel. They only want to be referred to as TLC.

nettalovesrobin said...

I agree ms cool. I hate all that female sappy shit. Women need more variety. Not the sterotypical shit about love and friendship!

Ms Cool said...

My favorite shows include Spartacus and The Walking Dead. If OWN shows those, I might tune in. Screw Dr. Phil and the other scare-tactic shows (Dr Oz is it?). Show me some true-crime biography shows instead of melodramas recreated about a true-crime story.

Astrid said...

I miss the old Bravo. It was an edgier PBS.

Cathy said...

They need to get some intelligent people running this network, asap. Granted, I've never watched it, but who was the genius that thought putting Rosie on at 7 pm (when their target audience is eating dinner, or helping their kids with homework) was a good idea? I feel kinda bad for Rosie, since she moved to Chicago, but never even stood a chance.

JJ said...

Yep, I'm their audience and I am not interested in their crap.

How about a weekly show based on the Women's Murder Club books. Strong, smart women succeeding in their careers without all the girl fighting and household garbage.

Swaysway1 said...

She should put a Maury type show on her network. I'd maybe watch it.

Come'on, sleazy drama is always a guilty pleasure.

SusanB said...

Agree with Ms. Cool. You couldn't pay me to watch that crap. I watch stuff like Boardwalk Empire, Dexter, Alcatraz and a lot of documentaries (love the Science Channel). Ok, I watch Storage Wars too. But OWN doesn't have anything like that.

Swaysway1 said...

She should put a Maury type show on her network. I'd maybe watch it.

Come'on, sleazy drama is always a guilty pleasure.

Brenda Love said...

Kill your television. You won't believe the difference in your life.

Princess said...

I miss the old days of Bravo. Inside the Actors Studio is really the only thing that remains, other than a random movie on the weekend. But it's generally 24 hours of Andy Cohen's crap.

dia papaya said...

I feel bad for the 20% who got screwed by those dumb producers.

Self help shows make me gag. I'm a sci fi comic book dork and would rather be watching Walking Dead, Lost Girl (that wolf guy is hot!), or old Firefly reruns. But I'm also addicted to Hoarders and Intervention so who knows...

LottaColada said...

I remember when VH1 used to air contemporary music videos. Now you tune in to see shows like Celebrity Rehab & Mob Wives. It really changed their whole demographic and I don't think it'll ever go back to what it was. My tv provider doesn't off OWN in my package so I don't have a clue what it's like. Can't be good though if she's firing people left & right.

Seachica said...

Ah, back when Bravo and History Channel were reflective of their names and we all thought niche cable channels could aim high and find a profitable audience.

As for OWN, why bother watching it if Oprah isn't doing her show? I don't even know if I get own, and don't care enough to find out. But then again, I'm not her demo.

Henriette said...

I loved the old Bravo, old A&E (arts & entertainment), and niche channels. Everything is now bad "reality" TV. Sigh.

The Big O should just give up on this network stuff. This is her second failed effort. She never discusses her first network child, Oxygen. People keep saying she was "just an investor," but she was the whole enchilada.

Retire Big O, pose on your mag, and just eat cheeseburgers in Santa Barbara. You know you want to.

Henriette said...

I love Walking Dead, but remember when AMC meant American Movie Classics?

Digital Influence said...

I remember when the Biography Channel showed bios of historical figures, not celebrities. And where is the history on the History Channel??? They have a show called "Hairy Bikers"! Both of those channels were my favorites once upon a time.

Maja. With a J. said...

I quite like the interviews she does on "Oprah's next Chapter". There have been some really great episodes of that. I wish she'd bring back "Our America" (is that was it was called? With Lisa Ling?) or something like it. I've liked every episode of "MasterClass" I've seen as well. It could be a great channel, but they have to admit that what people want from Oprah is OPRAH.

Audrey said...

@ Brenda Love - YES! We don't have cable anymore. We watch PBS and stream lots of Netflix. The difference is that we don't end up watching something stupid "just because it's on". When we watch something stupid, we do so purposely now. ;)

Sadie said...

Master Class and Our America with Lisa Ling are the ONLY good shows on OWN.

Anonymous said...

My brother calls TLC "The Mental Illness Channel." For as crappy as TLC is, I do love My Strange Addiction, Hoarders, My 600-lb Life and shows like that. I might be the only woman who hates What Not to Wear and all the wedding and baby shows.

My cable provider has OWN in HD and whenever we flip through the guide and I see that channel, there is never anything that would make me want to watch it.

I do like Pawn Stars on the History Channel. Some interesting stuff comes in that shop and they get some interesting experts to come in and authenticate it. I'll give the History Channel a pass on that one. It's a nice break from the Vietnam war stuff in HD that my husband keeps watching and I always look up in time to see someone's face blown off.

Ms Cool said...

I cannot watch Hoarders anymore. For a while there it helped me purge in my house. Now it just makes me sick. I don't want to see pictures of peoples' feces or their cats' feces or their dogs' feces.

I know what you mean about the changes to line-ups. I miss that AMC had just classic movies. I also miss (and this will age me) when MTV had just videos and VH1 had the contemporary adult videos (as someone mentioned above).

jetfuelgenius said...

@Brenda Love I haven't had cable since 2007...don't miss it. I download Mad Men on iTunes and watch hulu.com if there is a certain show I love, but the hours and hours of couch potato life filling my head with crap are gone. I will never have cable again! I do, however, admit to being mesmerized by the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills!

But the point is I CHOOSE when to watch, and what comes into my home...and I will occupy my time with way more worthwhile things now.

Laura said...

@ dia papaya - Lost Girl is my new guilty pleasure! Last year it was Being Human which I still like as well. SYFY all the way!

jbdean_79 said...

@anita_mark, no your not! :D I hate that crap too.

In fact I hate any show article, what have you that insists whatever YOU chose or do is wrong and YOU SHOULD do it "their" way instead. The "eat this not that" is the epitome of that kind of BS for me too.

How about just suggesting a subtle change, with the wardrobe they have instead of telling people. "You're a freak! Throw all your CRAP out."

Those shows seems to try and send the poor person back to high school and nitpick all their flaws and remind them as to why exactly they werent a member of the "in clique."

Or enforce the standard cliches of marriage and baby on us, trying to make us feel weird that we arent conforming.

Sorry for the rant.

Prufrock said...

She should put shows on like The Killing (AMC). It's not the typical crime procedural, but still has its share of drama. There is a female lead and she struggles with her job (crime solving), single parenting, relationships, but not in a cheesy way. Why not go that route instead of just talk show or reality programming. The cable channels with the smart dramas and comedies are outshining the networks these days.

Susan said...

This is an interesting post. I love your inside scoop, Enty, with your producer friends.

I'm not a fan of Oprah, so there's no way in hell I would watch this network. She's so freakin' self absorbed, which is why five minutes of her on her long-running talk show was enough to drive me bananas.

I totally remember Bravo from back in the day. And I was a huge fan of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. I watch a lot of Bravo shows, especially Top Chef, but a lot of the reality programs seem so set up.

The biggest disappointment for me in terms of a TV brand changing its brand is Food Network. This used to be my go-to for background noise, and I just can not take it these days. It's completely switched gears.

Morphine said...

This is what she gets. She should have scooped up the soaps. That is a built in audience for her crappy little network but she didn't see the money in it. There are many more viewers than the Nielsen ratings count. Oh well. Can't wait to see her network go the way of AMC and OLTL. And yes, I am quite bitter lol.

Little Miss Smoke and Mirrors said...

I love that OWN is imploding. Oprah's so far up her own ass, she could never find her way out. I've never been a fan, and remain resolutely uninterested in the programming she has foisted upon America (Phil, Oz, and all the rest).

FS said...

I agree, she should have saved All My Children and One Life to Live. Even if she had pared them down a bit, she still would have reaped the rewards of the audience loyalty from those shows.

I loved when Oprah did the Change Your Life shows. I learned a lot from those guests, and the personal security guy that she had on a lot as well. I loved when I could actually learn really useful things from her show, but then she was forced to stay on longer than she wanted to and she got lazy and became a shill for her corporate sponsors.

It's a shame her network is failing, it could have been something really good. We lost FitTV because of her, and that really sucks.

Meg said...

I also love that OWN is imploding. The programming here in Canada is a little different (at least I think) due to regulations about some content being Canadian, but other than Rosie's show there was nothing else I even remotely liked. It irritates me to the core that they think women need specialty programming of women's talk shows and Lifetime-style movies. Really? Shows they don't know their audience as much as they think they do.

You can add me to the list of those who really miss the old Bravo & A&E. I find now other than the main networks, I mostly watch PBS, History Channel (though I miss they're old stuff too), Showtime & Space (Canada's version of SyFy). I used to PVR Bravo and A&E so much, now I barely do.

Oh and you can add me to the Lost Girl fandom - love that show. This week's episode was crazy!

Del Riser said...

If she wanted a show that is just what *she* would do, she should have kept her old show.

I like PBS, the History channel, and most anything with a mystery.
I love Storage Wars, go Barry! I will watch Pawn Stars because it's here in town. All the CSI's, Person of Interest, and for fun Once Upon A Time, and Fringe.

I can't stand soaps, mushy *heartbreak of the week movies*. I won't read what I call the Torn Bodice" books.

If I want smart women's opinions, I come here.

Centaurea said...

@dia papaya and @laura, just joining the Hooray for Lost Girl Club :) And yeah... Wolf Guy is smoking hot. He's like a much sexier Chris Martin. I don't even care about the plot as long as he's naked at least once. Shirtless even passes.

auntliddy said...

Amen! What kind of history is pawn stars? Or auction hunters? I want real hustory back! And while we at it, get trutv back to crime, and lose all these "look what s jerk I am" video shows!!

Amy in MI said...

Iove when they show the Discovery ID shows on OWN since I can't afford the upgrade to get that channel. I agree with the above posts. I like her master class and interview stud on Sunday nights. Hell I'd even watch Oprah reruns. But I didn't care for Rosie's show. She seemed to be trying an Ellen knockoff.

Brenda Love said...

I'm glad to see a couple of other people having given up TV. Would you believe I haven't watched TV (other than occasional cartoons and the news) since 1981? Yep. I do go to movies and do some Netflix sometimes too. But I love my celeb gossip all the same!

Brenda Love said...

Reading, writing, gardening, exercising, art...there's just too much other I'd rather do.

Momster said...

Del Riser, I lol'd about your remark regarding Barry and storage wars. I got hooked on that show when I was sick and they were running a marathon of 'em, and Barry quickly became my favorite.

Never watch Bravo anymore. Never watched Own.

Anyone watch Breakout Kings?

Anonymous said...

Has anyone ever known a normal Barry? There's always something odd or quirky about them.

I love Storage Wars but the Texas version drives me nuts.

I'm sick of all the crime shows that are borderline pornographic violence with young women in their underwear being tied up and killed. The recent Alcatraz commercial pissed me off to no end.

Henriette said...

I don't have cable and haven't had it for years. I get the DVDs of shows I like, eg Walking Dead. Everything comes out on DVD as soon as the season is over.

feraltart said...

Note to Oprah - I am 42 years old, right in your demographic, and I just finished watching the second season of The Walking Dead and am making my way through The Sopranos (James Gandolfini - yum!). I also like Mad Men, Boardwalk Empire and am currently reading the second novel in the Girl With the Dragon Tattoo trilogy. The only talk show I like is the Graham Norton Show because he is funny and a bit naughty. I feel like you think most women are one or two dimensional, the way you would carry on when you had your sex expert on - please. We are full-blooded human beings with multiple interests and we are all different. If you stopped pandering to a tiny section of your potential audience and acknowledged the diversity in the female members of the human race, you might have a shot.
Rant over.

Lelaina Pierce said...

I feel a little bad for Rosie. I really liked the one on one format she switched to vs. what the show started out with (which was not very good).

Domestic Chicky said...

Nope! I hate those shows too! Love pawn stars, but I agree it doesn't have much to do with history :)

Del Riser said...

@Momster and @anita_mark, wouldn't you just love to spend the day with Barry?
I would love to see all the stuff he has kept for himself. Plus he's the only one smart enough to wear gloves.

They are cheap in Texas!

And Dave? Noooooooope!

Anonymous said...

I am not a germaphobe but I cringe when they reach blindly into boxes without gloves. It's like when the family who comes by to help clean up on Hoarders are all wearing flipflops.

Barry's got some fine-ass cars. I'd love to get a drink with him.

Domestic Chicky said...

Love...this is my goal! :)

ardleigh said...

I miss when the Bravo, TLC, A&E, the History Channel were more equilvalent of their name. When the History Channel showed things like how putting a spring on a carriage changed the world.

OWN --I couldn't even tell you what channel that is on my HUGE cable menu. I looked over her programming on TV Guide thought whomever she chose as program director was an idiot.

Liz said...

I also used to love Bravo, especially shows like the Actors Studio. VH-1 and MTV were great when used to show videos.

I never click on any link related to Reality TV. It's garbage and I wish people would stop supporting these shows. They're mesn spirited usually only try to humiliate people.

I will never understand why anyone would watch trashy shows like Maury.

Jeannie said...

I'm a woman and my tv interests vary: Edgy premium cable shows (Dexter, Game of Thrones, Shameless, True Blood), sci-fi/fantasy (Fringe, Supernatural, The Walking Dead, The Vampire Diaries, Torchwood), the true crime shows that shown 24/7 on Investigation Discovery (one of my new favorite channels), dramas (Mad Men, Breaking Bad, House) some reality (Top Chef, The Voice, Project Runway, America's Next Top Model), comedies (Raising Hope, Community, 30 Rock)... and so on. Yet there's NOTHING on OWN that appeals to me. As a 30 year old woman who watched almost anything, why is there nothing on OWN that catches my interest? I really think they're missing the mark on their demographic.

dia papaya said...

I LOVE Barry! My BF and I got to interview him for our motorcycle documentary. He's a really classy guy!

dia papaya said...

More shirtless Wolf Guy! He and Kenzie are my favorites.

dia papaya said...

Yes!!! I like Being Human too.

dia papaya said...

Time to start the CDaN Lost Girl club. The series just started here. I think you have the new ones in Canada. I'm jealous!

Wil said...

Oprah will never step out of her safe little box and therefore OWN will fail. She will sell it back to Discovery Media and that will be that.

As for the difference between Bravo and A&E [And TLC/Discovery Channel] then and now .. give me Bravo and A&E from the way back machine. You had great programming like Michael Palin's "Around the World in 80 Days" .. wonderful documentaries you never see any where any more. Those where some pretty great, educational times for those channels. Now .. now those channels are sh*t as is the majority of their programming.

pesky808 said...

Every now and then, when I stumble upon the OWN channel, that one show about women who've snapped and went on a killing spree seems to be on. Does anyone know what show I'm talking about? Anyways, for a supposedly "uplifting" network, that seems out of place.

Also, I really really really am not a fan of the OWN logo. It's just so...ugly.

Mooshki said...

"How about a weekly show based on the Women's Murder Club books."

They already did that. Only lasted about 6 episodes, sadly. I liked it.

kinda said...

Del Riser said...
If she wanted a show that is just what *she* would do, she should have kept her old show.

I agree!!!!

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