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OWN announces four new series

April 5, 2012 | 11:48 am

Oprah Winfrey on "CBS This Morning"

Oprah Winfrey's OWN announced Thursday the addition of four new original prime-time series to its lineup.

The new series include "Elura and Michele Take Staten Island," which will give the network its own set of housewives. The BFFs are former prosecutors who will apparently "tell it like it is" -- to their families and clients who pay for their mediation services. And it'll be a reunion of sorts with the addition of the Iyanla Vanzant series. The author and former talk show host was a frequent guest on Winfrey's talk show. "Iyanla Fix My Life" will center around her self-help advice.  Other shows include "Six Little McGhees" (working title), which has the network taking a stab at the large-family trend that was popular back when "John & Kate Plus 8" was on the air. And "Married to the Army: Alaska" is sort of an unscripted version of "Army Wives."

The network also announced that "Oprah's Master Class" and "Welcome to Sweetie Pie's" have been picked up for additional episodes. In addition, the network noted that TV producer Barry Poznick ("Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?") and comedian Kim Coles ("Living Single") will helm the network’s previously announced new game show titled "Are You Normal, America?" It's a spin-off segment that was a feature on Winfrey's talk show.

Whether these new shows will help turn the network's luck around is to be seen. The 15-month-old network, a joint venture between Winfrey and Discovery Communications Inc., has struggled to build an audience since its launch and has gone through executive restructuring and cutbacks -- and, as we reported, has cost Discovery more than $300 million in programming and marketing costs.

The woes are something Winfrey addressed during a recent appearance on "CBS This Morning," telling the show's co-host/best friend Gayle King that she will "move on to the next thing" if viewers don't respond to the network's mission to transform viewers' lives.



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--Yvonne Villarreal

Photo: Oprah Winfrey appears Tuesday on "CBS This Morning" with co-host Charlie Rose. Credit: Heather Wines / CBS