OWN to Focus on Black Viewers?

Oprah's network may try to save itself by catering to an African-American audience. 

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Oprah Winfrey never had to do it to keep her hugely popular talk show successful, but her television network might: Taking note of the success of the reality series Sweetie Pies, executives are considering catering more to an African-American audience to boost OWN viewership, the Hollywood Reporter reports:

Anytime you have a program that pops like Sweetie Pies did, you start looking at what drove it,” [OWN President Erik] Logan tells Adweek. “And we saw that the African-American audience really had a connection with that show ... We’re going to look at ways to nurture and grow that.”

OWN has an average prime-time viewership of around 216,000 people, but Sweetie Pies enjoys an average audience of around 418,000, making it the highest rated show on the network by far.

According to Logan, OWN executives will be taking the success of Sweetie Pies in that market into consideration when making future programming decisions, as well as trying to pitch OWN’s success with African Americans to new advertisers.

“We now have a new opportunity to tell the story to different advertisers that didn’t think about buying OWN if you’re trying to market your clients in an African-American marketplace,” Logan said. “Our ad sales team now has the ability to open up those conversations.”

It's worth wondering why only the African-American audience "really had a connection" with Sweetie Pies, and what it would take for viewers of other races to find a show with a black cast just as compelling. The Oprah Winfrey Show itself may have transcended race with its universal appeal, but it seems it may be some time before the rest of the television world -- even with the Queen of Talk herself at the helm -- does the same.

Read more at the Hollywood Reporter.

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