Amid the football and hangovers of New Year’s Day comes a bit of television history: the launch of Oprah Winfrey’s brand new network, OWN, which began operations today.
Writing on The Root, Jennifer Mabry sums up her feelings about the Oprah Winfrey Network in one word: “disappointed.”
Mabry writes that she’d hoped to see Oprah enter the programming space and reinvent it–as she did when she began her talk show–“by being ambitious, adventurous and creative” instead of opting to “be part of its further degeneration by adding to an already glutted market of voyeuristic dreck.”
After a few hours of OWN, Mabry describes the driving philosophy behind the network as simple: “Find anyone with a heartbeat and a willingness to have cameras follow them during their ordinary day-to-day life, and voilà — we’ve got ourselves a TV show!”
Beyond the simple problem of being uninventive and boring, Mabry knocks Oprah for failing to bring diversity to her network:
Of course, Winfrey is free to choose how she spends her millions. But it’s disconcerting, to say the least, that of the breakout syndicated personalities she has helped to launch during her reign as the queen of media — Dr. Phil, Dr. Oz, Nate Berkus and Rachael Ray — none is a black male or female, sans (Gayle) King.
OWN is a missed opportunity for Winfrey to create cable television that’s truly FUBU: For Us, By Us.
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