Oprah Winfrey today announced a startling makeover of her television network, OWN, to a programming lineup consisting exclusively of shows in which people cry.
"What I've learned from the OWN experience is that our audience overwhelmingly prefers programs featuring people who are willing, even anxious, to break down in front of a camera," said the mega-star.
"For example, one of our most popular shows featured a woman with 15 personalities, two-thirds of which had uncontrollable crying jags. Another highly rated program focused on a 600 pound woman and a half-ton teen who collectively shed 10 pounds of water weight when they cried, respectively, about her unsuccessful efforts to reach the Moon Pie on the end table and his inability to find a cummerbund for his prom tuxedo."
"We're going to take situations like these to a new level," said Oprah, "and we see a unique niche in weight-related programming. For example, we have in development a competitive game show, 'Cry Me a Liver,' on which a panel of doctors, including Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Dr. Laura, and Dr. Dre, decide which of three grossly obese contestants will win a replacement for the failing organ of his or her choice. We think mixing tears of abject fear and unbridled joy is a sure winner."
Winfrey said that although OWN's new focus will mean significant investment in new programming, some of the change will come from tinkering with the formats of existing programs.
"We've recently rolled out '10 Kids, 2 Dads,' a reality show in which two gay men adopt ten children and have to deal with the ensuing chaos. We plan to rework this show into "10 kids, 2 Dads and 2 Born Again, Heterosexual Moms," in which every week the Moms try to turn the Dads straight and make them cry."
Winfrey said that she and her staff intend to hunt for situations in which crying or even tearing-up will be a surprise to the network's audiences.
"I don't want to be a spoiler, but I think our viewers are going to be shocked by the emotional state of the sad, sad people who man the onion blossom prep stations at Chili's. 'Crying' really isn't the right word for it."
OWN insiders report that the new lineup will include a show with a Washington focus, in which viewers will be invited to weigh in on whether politicians who seem to be crying are "forcibly crying," are crying because they have realized while quoting their mothers' dying words that their mothers are at Yoga class, or are crying over their compulsion to use the word 'misspoke.' It's rumored that House Speaker John Boehner will host the program.
Winfrey says that the crown jewel of the network's new look is a program that will turn daytime television on its ear.
"People are growing tired of soap operas," she said, "tired of the hackneyed tear-jerker format. We intend to capitalize on that ennui with a new, groundbreaking show called, "The Jerk Tearers," in which psychoanalysts, spiritual advisers and specialists of various disciplines from the Army, Navy, Marines and Qatar, wring tears of contrition from society's biggest jerks."
"We've test-marketed the pilot of the show and the audience reactions were off the charts. Seeing Congressman Anthony Weiner, Silvio Berlusconi, and every third priest in the Catholic Church nearly drown in their own eye-sourced excretions brought these folks to their feet."
Summing up her decision to move OWN in a new direction, Winfrey said, "We're doing this because in these difficult times what the American people need and want from television is more than unreproducible recipes , a few laughs, or a panel discussion on why the EPA declared the parastratiosphecomyia stratiosphecomyioides an endangered species."
"What they want, and what we intend to give them, is summed up in our new motto, Misera comites diligit, 'Misery loves company.' We are going to make OWN the go-to network for the miserable, the place to which they'll turn when they want reassurance that there's something in the world that is as indisputably worthless as they are."