With The Help Of Tyler Perry, “Dark Girls” And A Blacker Audience, OWN Has Best Quarter In Network’s History

July 3, 2013  |  

Around this time last year, I think we were all sitting around trying to figure out ways Oprah could save her struggling network, OWN. We were talking about who she should interview, who she should stop interviewing, what shows she should try, not realizing that Lady O already had a few plans up her sleeve. These plans would inevitably bring OWN out of its slump and help it bring in its best numbers ever, boosting its growth by 32 percent in primetime TV and ultimately helping it place in the top five of cable networks watched by African-American women.

So who does Oprah have to thank aside from herself? Tyler Perry has been a saving grace to the network, bringing in the highest premiere numbers the network has ever seen with his popular/controversial shows, The Haves and The Have Nots, and Love Thy Neighbor. Both shows average numbers peaking at 1.6 and 1.3 million viewers per episode. On top of Perry bringing his fans and audience to the network, the Dark Girls documentary was the highest rated documentary they’ve ever shown on the network (do they show documentaries often though…?) bringing in one million viewers. Iyanla Fix My Life‘s premiere episode with DMX was a major success as well. Lastly, the Oprah’s Next Chapter episode that featured “Black Women in Hollywood” also pulled in one million viewers, making it the highest-rated episode of the show since last fall according to Shadow and Act.

All in all, I think we can all agree that what Oprah, a black woman, took from the stumble her network took out of the blocks in its first year is that the black audience, specifically black women, are a very powerful TV-watching audience. Many of her new programs are catered to such an audience and because of that, her network has found a following. Kudos to you Lady O and let’s hope the success continues!

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