Tag: cable television

Oprah Winfrey’s OWN Solidifies Profits with Higher Ratings and Ad Revenues

(Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)
(Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) is in the black for the first time since its rocky start two-and-a-half years ago. More than 30 new advertisers are joining original heavyweight sponsors Procter & Gamble and General Electric, and are paying higher rates as the channel has found its programming and distribution footing.  Headlines about profitability and audience growth have replaced the drumbeat of speculation that her ambitious venture with Discovery Communications might end up a costly flop and an uncharacteristic failure for Winfrey.

Now, Winfrey says, “rewarding” is the word for her experience at OWN, both as the chairwoman and CEO shaping the channel and as a viewer lodestone who hosts several series including “Oprah’s Next Chapter” and “Oprah’s Lifeclass.”

“I no longer have such fear and anxiety about it. I really have more confidence in my decisions,” Winfrey said. “In the beginning, I was in a lot of meetings where people said, ‘You don’t understand cable.’ … I’d say, ‘But I do understand the audience. Aren’t people the same?’”

The answer is yes, says Winfrey, who’s enjoying a career renaissance with OWN’s turnaround and her return to big-screen acting in “Lee Daniels’ The Butler,” No. 1 at the box office for two weeks with more than $50 million in tickets sales.

Her confidence in OWN also is backed up by numbers.  For the year to date, viewership is up 22 percent among the target audience of adult women and 23 percent among all viewers compared to last year, according to Nielsen Co. In the third quarter, prime-time viewership among women 25 to 54 and total viewers each are up more than 60 percent compared to 2012.  For August, OWN drew a channel-high 536,000 prime-time viewers, a fraction of the millions that watched Winfrey’s talk show but respectable for a developing cable channel.

Continue reading “Oprah Winfrey’s OWN Solidifies Profits with Higher Ratings and Ad Revenues”

DL Hughley To Co-Create & Star In FX Comedy Based On His Life

FX, the cable network that carries Louis CK’s acclaimed comedy Louie, has put in development another autobiographical comedy starring a stand-up comedian. The untitled project toplined by DL Hughley is based on Hughley’s life experiences and revolves around him as an unapologetically honest family man and radio host.

Hughley has been married for more than 25 years and has three children. He had a New York radio show a couple of years ago and recently signed on to host a nationally -syndicated afternoon drive show. Hughley, one of The Original Kings Of Comedy, will co-write the script for the FX project with Sivert Glarum and Michael Jamin (Brickleberry). The three will executive produce with 3 Arts’ Michael Rotenberg and Dave Becky for FX Prods.  Hughley previously co-created/toplined the sitcom The Hughleys that ran for four seasons on ABC and UPN.

article by Nellie Andreeva via deadline.com

WE tv Greenlights ‘Sisters With Voices’ Reality Show

Sisters With Voices Grammy Arrivals - H 2013
SWV (Getty Images)

WE tv has greenlighted a new reality series starring the R&B girl group SWV as they attempt to reclaim the fame of their ’90s heyday.  The cable channel ordered six one-hour episodes of the series, called SWV — Sisters With Voices, which will air in early 2014.  The trio, consisting of Cheryl “Coko” ClemonsLeanne “Lelee” Lyons and Tamara “Taj” Johnson, announced the news while performing at the Essence Music Festival in New Orleans on Sunday.  The New York City-based group, whose chart-topping hit songs include “Weak” and “Right Here/Human Nature,” broke up in 1998, amid internal fighting, to embark on separate solo careers. They reunited in 2005.

“The journey of SWV is the kind of real and personal comeback story our viewers love to see,” said Lauren Gellert, WE tv’s senior vp original production and development, in a statement Monday. “These dynamic women experienced enormous success together, then it all fell apart. United again, the stakes are higher than ever, and so — at times — is the drama and tension. We can’t wait to present this fresh, new series to WE tv viewers.”  Sisters With Voices is produced by Entertainment One Television, with Tara LongJohn MoraynissHowie Long and Jennifer Long executive producing alongside Kate Farrell of WE tv.

article by Erin Carlson via hollywoodreporter.com

Oprah’s OWN Orders More of Tyler Perry’s “Haves and Have Nots”, Picks Up “All My Children”

the-haves-and-have-nots

It looks the Oprah Winfrey Network has finally found its stride. After the success of “The Haves and Have Nots,” which enjoyed OWN’s highest-rated debut with 1.8 million viewers, the network is making a play to appeal to the soap opera-loving crowd by picking up “All My Children” and “One Life To Live.”

OWN has acquired the first 40 episodes of both soaps and will air them for a 10-week run this summer. Erik Logan, one of OWN’s presidents, told The Hollywood Reporter:

“These shows have proven to be very popular with a significant, loyal fan base, not to mention Oprah herself is a big fan. Many of our viewers across numerous platforms have expressed their passion for the soaps so we are especially excited to air this limited engagement on OWN.”

OWN will continue to cater to the same passionate niche audience with “The Haves and Have Nots.” The network ordered 16 more episodes of the drama, which brings the episode tally to 32. The first run of 16 will end on September 3rd, and the second half will premiere early next year.

article via clutchmagonline.com

Soledad O’Brien Joining HBO’s ‘Real Sports’

Broadcast journalist Soledad O'Brien attends Chaka Khan's Birthday Party on March 26, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images)
Broadcast journalist Soledad O’Brien attends Chaka Khan’s Birthday Party on March 26, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (AP) — Soledad O’Brien is joining her former “Today” show colleague Bryant Gumbel at HBO’s “Real Sports.” HBO said Wednesday that O’Brien will be a reporter on the monthly magazine show. Her first story, due later this month, is about war veterans who use martial arts to help them cope with post-traumatic stress disorder.

O’Brien most recently was a morning show host on CNN, but the news network has given the program an overhaul that will debut next week. HBO also agreed to a deal with O’Brien’s production company, Starfish Media Group. O’Brien played college rugby, but her experience covering sports is limited.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press

article via thegrio.com

TV Review: Dwayne Johnson Rocks New Reality Series “The Hero”

The Hero Season 1 - Ep 101 Ph: Frank Masi Panama City, Panama

The Hero (8pm Thursdays, TNT)

Host:  Dwayne Johnson

I’ve got to give it to the folks at TNT – it was a smart choice to air a competition reality show hosted by wrestler-turned-movie-star Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. It’s completely entertaining, mainly because The Rock reminds the viewer very early on, well…that he’s got charisma in spades.

The Hero takes nine contestants and makes them endure physical challenges as well as ethical mind games while attempting to gain enough viewer appeal to be voted into the final where the winner’s pot could reach up to one million dollars. I usually get frustrated with the whole audience voter scenario, but The Hero has thrown in measuring a person’s moral compass, and that makes what the home audience thinks a little more appealing.

On top of jumping, rappelling, crawling, and conquering real fears, the participants have their principles tested with offers of cash on the sly.  In other words, the show asks each of them the question: “If no one’s looking, how greedy will you be?”  If every contestant selflessly resists the chance to pocket easy money when it’s offered in private, then it all goes into the team pot.  The way the money is earned and the challenge scenario is tiered and a bit confusing.  Nonetheless it’s easy to grasp that there is a one in nine chance to win up to a million dollars.

James Bond himself doesn’t have to do half the stuff these contestants do.  And the casting is genius.  They’ve got contestants with serious phobias. One can’t handle heights, another freaks out in the dark…um, hello…you signed up for a show called The Hero hosted by the Rock…and you’ve got phobias?  It’s such a fun twist I was sucked into watching human behavior at its rawest.

In a pretty hilarious segment, a female contestant who is terrified of heights is asked to join The Rock atop the roof of a skyscraper. He eagerly awaits her as she chants, “I’m not going to fail … I’m not going to fail.” As she walks up two flights of stairs (yes, only two) to get to him he utters, “You’re not going to fail.” It’s just some stairs and there is railing but she is terrified. She makes it and leaps into the Rock’s bulging , welcoming arms. It’s a terrific human moment. He smiles, hugs and encourages her, but then offers her some money to pocket for herself or put in the pot. A moral dilemma ensues.

It’s a provocative scenario each time it occurs: “You’re broke…here’s some money and you need it… take it or put it in the pot.” As one contestant puts it (I’m paraphrasing here): “These people are not saying no to the money because they are good people. They are saying no because they want to appear to be good for the audience that votes so they will be voted to go to the end and have a chance at a more money.”

All on all, The Hero is a thoroughly watchable show, although I can’t say the title works. Are these people actually heroic? Not really. But Dwayne in all his Rockness and the challenges make for a fun summer series. Set in Panama, I’m not sure they’ll find a “Hero”… but they may just find the ratings.

Lesa LakinReviewed by Lesa Lakin

Maya Angelou, India.Arie Set for Oprah’s ‘Super Soul Sunday’

oprah dr angelouIn the first of a special two-part event, Oprah Winfrey sits down with her mentor, acclaimed writer, author and poet Dr. Maya Angelou, on her Emmy-winning series “Super Soul Sunday,” premiering Mother’s Day, May 12 from 11 a.m.- 12:00 p.m. ET/PT on OWN.

In this candid conversation, Oprah’s “mother-sister-friend” opens up about forgiveness, family, and the rich relationship they’ve shared for more than thirty-five years.

Discussing her latest book “Mom & Me & Mom,” Dr. Angelou delves into one of the deepest personal stories of her life: her relationship with her mother, Vivian Baxter. Dr. Angelou also reveals intimate stories from her childhood, including how her nurturing, yet fiery, mother challenged her to find strength in the face of adversity.

This season’s “Super Soul Sunday” line-up continues with all-new inspirational episodes airing every Sunday (from 11:00-12:00p.m.) on OWN, including:

May 19- “Oprah & Dr. Maya Angelou, Part Two”
Oprah’s heart-to -heart conversation continues with acclaimed author, Dr. Maya Angelou. Discussing her latest book, “Mom & Me & Mom”, Dr. Angelou reveals how her tough, but tender-hearted mother transformed her life. Plus, she shares her insights on aging brilliantly, and how love can liberate you.

May 26- “The Bigger Picture with Oprah, Rev Ed Bacon, Elizabeth Lesser & Mark Nepo”
Join Oprah and three dynamic thought leaders for the first installment of ‘The Bigger Picture,’ a Super Soul Sunday panel discussion about today’s top global headlines, bringing unique and thoughtful perspective to world news topics ranging from prescription drugs to terrorism, gun violence, and our fascination with celebrity culture.

June 2- “Oprah & Dr. Brian Weiss: Reincarnation, Past Lives and Miracles”
Groundbreaking psychiatrist and best-selling author of “Many Lives, Many Masters” tells Oprah of how he came to practice past life regression therapy.

Continue reading “Maya Angelou, India.Arie Set for Oprah’s ‘Super Soul Sunday’”

AMC’s ‘Mad Men’ Tackles Race Relations, Assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.

Calling it a day: Joan sends Don's secretary home for the day
Calling it a day: Joan sends Don’s secretary home for the day

AMC’s Emmy Award-winning drama series Mad Men, about advertising executives in the 1960s, though critically-acclaimed, has often taken flak in its six seasons for not acknowledging or dealing with the racial tensions of the times.  This season, which takes place during the tumultuous year of 1968, has already devoted more airtime to its most prominent African-American character, Dawn, the lead character Don Draper’s secretary.  And last night, in an episode titled “The Flood,” the show recreated perhaps the most historic moment in the civil rights struggle — the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.

The show’s characters learn of King’s death over the radio and in an advertising awards show crowd.  Meanwhile, panic spreads as rioting takes hold in major cities across the country.  Vintage Walter Cronkite reports play as police and ambulance sirens blare.  In one scene, a character is upbraided for lamenting the loss of TV advertising profits in the wake of MLK’s death.  In another, a black character calls out rioters for not living up to King’s example.  Additionally, the African-American secretaries are all suddenly treated with kid gloves by their white supervisors — aware that the civil right’s leader’s death is perceived as a blow to the fight against racial prejudice.

To read more about this Mad Men episode, check out the links below:

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson; additional reporting by Lesa Lakin

 

Issa Rae, Malinda Williams to Co-Host New ASPiRE Talkshow Modeled After ‘The View’

Issa Rae to Co-Host “Exhale” on Magic Johnson’s ASPiRE Network

ASPiRE, the new television network from Magic Johnson Enterprises that promised, at the time of its launch, an “entertaining and inspiring mix of original and groundbreaking programming,” with the likes of Laurence FishburneOmari HardwickEsperanza Spalding and Jonathan Slocumb set to host prime-time series blocks focused on movies, comedy, original series, and music, has greenlit it first talk show, according to Variety.

Titled Exhale, the new network’s entry into the talkshow space is said to be similar to The View, and will be hosted by five African-American women in media: journalist Angela Burt-Murray, actress and comedian Erin Jackson, Issa Rae (“The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl”), author and TV anchor Rene Syler, and actress Malinda Williams.

Content will include conversation on the usual topics – family, relationships, career, money and faith.  Exhale, which is ASPiRE’s 3rd original series, will be produced by Lynne Robinson and Black Robin Media.   Shooting has already begun for what will be an 8-episode first run set to debut in June.

“We are thrilled to add ‘Exhale’ to our lineup of original programming,” said the ASPiRE GM Paul Butler. “This fresh, hip and candid new series will enlighten audiences with its broad range of topics relevant to the community.”

ASPiRE, launched in June 2012, was selected by Comcast from among over 100 candidates as one of four new minority-owned independent networks, and expectations are that the new network will be available in 20 to 30 million homes by the end of this year.

article by Tambay A. Obenon via indiewire.com

Jamie Foxx To Write, Direct & Produce Syfy Horror Anthology Series For October Debut

Jamie Foxx Syfy SeriesSyfy unveiled a high-profile new scripted series from Jamie Foxx and his Foxxhole Prods. The Oscar winner will executive produce, write and direct the five-episode horror anthology series, which will debut during Syfy’s annual 31 Days Of Halloween programming marathon this October. Foxx might also appear on the yet-untitled series, which is produced by Universal Cable Prods.

In the vein of horror classics like Tales From The Crypt and The Twilight Zone, the contemporary series tells creepy morality tales with themes such as envy, jealousy and superficiality. “This is a project that I’ve wanted to do for a long time and I’m so happy to see it come to life,” Foxx said. “Get ready to lose it when some special friends and I bring the scares this October, and who knows… maybe I’ll make a guest appearance or two along the way!” Added Syfy/UCP’s Mark Stern, “Jamie Foxx’s passion and unique perspective will transform these universal insights on the human condition into emotionally potent and truly scary cautionary tales.”

Troy Miller (Flight Of The Conchords) will executive produce the series through his production company Dakota Pictures, along with Foxx, writer Jeff Stilson, Jaime King and Julie Yorn. Writers on the project also include Mike Ferris (Terminator: Salvation) and John Pogue (Army Wives, Everwood).

article by Nellie Andreeva via Deadline.com