At the Television Critics Association's Press Tour, we showed off sneak peeks of our spring lineup (and celebrated a few 2012 successes).
When deciding on the 2013 schedule, producers at OWN knew they wanted to find stories that would show viewers the great potential in each of us, the challenges we all run into, and some of the hilarious moments that get us through those challenges. On January 5, Sheri Salata and Erik Logan, presidents, OWN, were excited to present some of these new shows at TCA:
Metal detectors at the door. Brutal fights in the hallways. Teachers getting pushed around by students. Who would want to be the principal of this place -- one of the most dangerous and under-performing high schools in America? Dr. Marvin Thompson, a dynamic leader with a lot of expectations for his students. With education maverick Steve Barr, Thompson takes on volatile students ("They start popping over 10 cents worth of candy," says one teacher in an early episode) and sandwich board-wearing community members arguing against change. "Blackboard Wars" was originally pitched to the network just a few weeks before John McDonogh High’s new school year started. Producers decided quickly to move forward -- and had a camera crew in New Orleans in time for the first day of school. "I know what you're capable of," says principal Thompson to the students. "My question is: Do you?"
Maybe you're one of the six million people who saw the "Golden Sisters" online. Oprah saw them too. "I had too many LOLs to count watching these guys, so I signed them up for a pilot," she says in an introductory video at TCA. The show follows Mary (lively at age 81) and her twin sisters (equally lively at 73) who talk about sex, dating, celebrities, pop culture, and -- of course -- self-defense in case of zombie apocalypse.
What happens when a former street enforcer for the mafia (one of John Gotti's most trusted men, as it happens) meets a mutt named Bruno? "Dogfellas" follows James "Head" Guiliani, who was inspired to change his life after meeting an abandoned puppy and opened Brooklyn's most successful dog-grooming parlor. Turns out, handling the animal menagerie is the easy part -- the people are a little more complicated.
'The Haves And The Have-Nots'
Tyler Perry's first-ever TV drama series debuts May 29. It focuses on the affluent Cryer family and the impoverished family of Hanna, their housekeeper, and the obstacles and secrets that exist among them.
'Love Thy Neighbor'
This half-hour comedy -- written, directed and produced by Tyler Perry -- centers on Love's Diner, where every day the menu serves up good food, great laughs, valuable life lessons and a whole lot of love for its zany neighbors.
But that's not the only news: "2012 has been a great year for OWN," says Erik Logan, president, OWN. "We've seen solid ratings growth." Building on that success, the producers are at work on new seasons of…
'Oprah's Next Chapter'
Last year, Oprah traveled the globe for her primetime interview series -- from India (to interview Deepak Chopra) and Barbados (with Rihanna) to New York City (hello, Lady Gaga!) and West Des Moines (with Gabrielle Douglas, who got Oprah up on the balance beam). Who will she talk to next? First up: a revealing interview with David Letterman at Ball State University in Indiana. Later, Oprah visits with Drew Barrymore, LL Cool J, and Cissy Houston -- one year after her daughter's untimely passing.
'Iyanla: Fix My Life'
If you've got problems -- deep, horrible, seemingly unsolvable problems -- Iyanla Vanzant can help get to the truth and get you out of the brokenness. Oprah says: "I am amazed at Iyanla Vanzant's gift -- to just cut through the layers of people's pain and their baggage and create a space in all of their hoarded junk emotionally. At the end of every show, you can see there is a crack, an opening for healing." This season, Iyanla meets with rapper DMX, among others.
The unique first-person series returns with the stories you've never heard from the people you thought you knew best, including Alicia Keys, Stevie Nicks, Tom Brokaw and more.
'Oprah: Where Are They Now?'
This season, producers will find out whatever happened to former "Apprentice" Omarosa, "Octomom" Nadya Suleman and other newsmaking "Oprah Show" guests.
"All these programs reflect the best of the human spirit," says Sheri Salata, president, OWN. "Whether it's Oprah's in-depth conversations with celebrities and newsmakers or our new scripted programming from Tyler Perry, the people and characters in these shows share experiences and life stories in relatable and authentic ways."
Let us know what you're looking forward to in the comments.