Heroes! Mothers! Cheaters! Oprah's OWN picks up six new series, renews five shows
Broadway dancers, crime victims, unfaithful spouses and soul-food chefs are coming to OWN: the Oprah Winfrey Network, the network announced during its upfront presentation on Thursday. Six new unscripted series were added to OWN, though there was no news of the most anticipated OWN series: an Oprah Winfrey show, which is expected to launch in September after her daytime talk show ends. Though OWN has been slow to attract viewers -- so far, it has barely outrated Discovery Health, the channel it replaced -- the network chose to renew five of its series, including "Our America With Lisa Ling," "Ask Oprah's All Stars," "Enough Already! With Peter Walsh," "In the Bedroom with Dr. Laura Berman," and "Oprah Presents Master Class." A list of the new shows, with descriptions provided by OWN, follows below:
This provocative series documents the powerful and sometimes painful mediation process in which victim and offender come together in the hopes of achieving closure. Currently available in 48 states, mediation programs offer the possibility of catharsis, relief and, at their best, forgiveness. In each episode, viewers follow the real life process of both victim and offender as they prepare to confront each other, face to face, for the most important conversation of their lives. Produced by Relativity Real.
"I Owe You My Life"
TV makes it look easy. Writers know how to make their characters brave in the face of unspeakable dangers, determined when the odds are against them, and focused and virtuous when temptations abound. What about real people? What makes us heroic? These and many more questions will be posed in “I Owe You My Life.” The nature of being a hero involves a multi-layered, complex set of circumstances, and this series will delve into the dramatic stories of everyday people from every corner of the world who take risky, even death-defying actions to protect others and right wrongs. Produced by Skip Film.
"Louie Spence Dance Project"
Manhattan, meet Louie Spence: He's a world-renowned choreographer who has worked with some of the biggest names in the business. Everyone from Mariah to Kylie to the Spice Girls have tapped Louie's creative talent -- and now it's Broadway Dance Center's turn. The much-vaunted New York studio has commissioned Louie to breathe new life into its curriculum, so the flamboyant Brit is jumping the pond, prepped to revamp the program. He's bringing his passion, his impeccable technique and his own unique style to the studio. Broadway Dance won't know what hit it. Produced by Kinetic Content.
"My Mom and Me"
The mother-daughter dynamic can be more than a little tricky -- so how much trickier does it become when kid has to play parent? “My Mom and Me” examines unusual mom-daughter relationships in which “normal boundaries” are challenged. Intimate, heart-warming and at times shocking, the series features mothers and daughters opening up about their atypical relationships and, with the help of a therapist, tackling their deep-rooted issues. Produced by Firecracker Films.
When Robbie Montgomery, a 1960s backup singer and former Ikette, suffered a collapsed lung and had to stop singing, she decided to pour her talents into another creative venture -- a soul food restaurant. At her family-oriented eatery, Sweetie Pies, both hilarity and drama are offered in equal measure -- and now Robbie's upping the ante with a second location. This docu-series follows the loud, loving and often singing Montgomery family as they work to expand their empire, one soulful dish at a time. Produced by Pilgrim Films & Television.
"Unfaithful: Stories of Betrayal"
This compelling series features couples that have suffered and survived infidelity in their marriages. In each episode, couples share their deeply personal stories of heartbreak, while a therapist provides perspective and advice on how to heal. Revealing and surprisingly uplifting, the series illustrates how love can endure even the darkest times. Produced by True Entertainment.
-- Melissa Maerz
Photo: Oprah Winfrey. Credit: Kiichiro Sato / Associated Press