Now that we've seen an entire weekend's worth of programming on OWN, we TV fans finally know what an Oprah-ruled network will look like. Judging by her programming walk-through, Oprah's Guide to OWN, Winfrey has clearly made a list of hot topics from her show (searching for lost loved ones, debating the veracity of miracles), and developed whole TV shows around them. Truthfully, the result looks a little like TLC.
In fact, two of the shows that premiered Saturday could have been snatched straight from that network. Kidnapped by the Kids comes across like a parenting show version of TLC's What Not To Wear. The premise: Find a terrible, workaholic parent. Have his spouse and children ambush him and take him away for a week of forced family time, and… let the parenting makeover begin!
If you didn't catch the first episode of Enough Already with Peter Walsh, just imagine TLC's Hoarding: Buried Alive. But better, of course, because the buried-in-their-own-stuff folks get to be shepherded by the Oprah-sanctioned, organizational expert, Peter Walsh.
Oprah Presents Master Class diverges from the self-help bent of the other shows, though this, too, is presented as a series you can learn from. It's a polished, well-written show that profiles celebrities. The Oprah spin is that they offer advice for would-be masters in the TV audience. Winfrey's very wide range of diverse subjects seems a little far-fetched at first. One episode about Simon Cowell and another about Maya Angelou? But the show is well done, and upon reflection, both of these people are masters of their fields.
Of all the OWN shows that aired this weekend, the most intriguing, even riveting, was Season 25: Oprah Behind the Scenes, where cameras trail Winfrey and her team during Oprah's final season. It's not exactly a secret that Winfrey is the dominant, driving force of her own show. But it's still startling to watch her various minions (producers, assistants, etc.) as they gather around her in a heightened state of fear and reverence. She is charming and funny, of course. But her power and self-assurance, cultivated over a quarter of a century of TV success, is also terrifying. Full-grown male producers are reduced to spluttering yes-men in her presence. And she does nothing to alleviate their obvious anxiety.
Winfrey deserves a lot of credit for allowing viewers this glimpse behind the curtain. And so far, we think she deserves a lot of credit for the other shows she's created as well.
Which OWN show did you like the most? Chime in below!