Unscripted

OWN adds four unscripted series to slate

U.S. cable net Oprah Winfrey Network is set to air four new docuseries this year, with topics ranging from the reinvention of a dangerous high school, to YouTube sensations The Golden Sisters (pictured), and a former mafia man turned dog groomer.
January 7, 2013

U.S. cable net Oprah Winfrey Network is set to air four new docuseries this year, with topics ranging from the reinvention of a dangerous high school, to YouTube sensations The Golden Sisters (pictured), and a former mafia man turned dog groomer.

Announced at a presentation during the Television Critics Association (TCA) winter press tour, the series include Discovery Studios’ Blackboard Wars, which is set to premiere in March and centers on the transformation of a high school in New Orleans. Given unprecedented access to John McDonogh High School, one of the most dangerous and under-performing high schools in the U.S., the docuseries follows educational innovator Steve Barr and the school’s principal as they band together to make changes.

OWN will also be the home to Golden Sisterswhich launched on the network as a special in December. The LMNO Productions “real-life comedy” will continue to follow 80-year-old Mary and her twin sisters, Josie and Teresa, who became notorious for their YouTube videos, in which they offer their takes on everything from sex and dating, to celebs and pop culture.

Raising Whitley, from Pilgrim Studios, follows actor and comedian Kym Whitley and her friends, whom she refers to as “The Village,” as they raise a baby together. The Village bands together after the troubled young girl Whitley mentors from the Big Sister program exits the maternity ward, leaving behind a baby and Whitley’s contact information.

Also premiering this year is Dogfellas (w/t), featuring James “Head” Guiliani, who was once one of John Gotti’s most trusted men, and now owns Brooklyn’s top canine grooming parlor and rescues dogs. The series is produced by NERD TV.

Returning series include Oprah’s Next Chapter, Iyanla Fix My Life, and Oprah’s Master Class and Oprah: Where Are They Now, both debuting new seasons in March.

OWN has also partnered with director and producer Tyler Perry on the network’s first scripted series, a one-hour drama series and a half-hour comedy.

“2012 has been a great year for OWN,” said Erik Logan, president, OWN. “We’ve established a foundation of original programming, have seen solid ratings growth, and we are optimistic about our new slate of shows for 2013.”

“All of these new programs reflect the best of the human spirit. From the funny to the dramatic, we are always shooting for to-the-bone real,” added 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.”

About The Author
Meagan Kashty is an associate editor of realscreen, an international print and online magazine that covers the non-fiction film and television industries. Meagan is an award-winning business journalist. Prior to joining the realscreen team, Meagan was online editor of Canadian Grocer, named Magazine of the Year at the 2015 Canadian Business Media Awards. She can be reached at mkashty@brunico.com, and you can follow her on Twitter @MegKashty

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