Net to pick up third season of 'Master Class'
Oprah Winfrey’s OWN Thursday announced four new series including “Elura and Michele Take Staten Island,” “Iyanla Fix My Life,” “Married to the Army: Alaska” and “Six Little McGhees” as the net looks to move ahead after a rocky launch early last year.Veteran TV producer Barry Poznick (“Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader?”) and comedian/actress Kim Coles will also host new primetime game show “Are You Normal, America?” produced by Winfrey’s Harpo Studios and Zoo Productions. The net said it will pick up a third season of “Oprah’s Master Class” and ten additional episodes of “Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s.” “We have solid momentum and are building the network with a strong mix of programs that connect and engage with our audience,” said OWN prexy Sheri Salata. The expanded slate comes several days after Winfrey made headlines when she told The Early Show on CBS that OWN wasn’t ready when it launched on Jan. 1, 2011. She said that if she had a do-over she might not have started the network, which has struggled mightily since its debut. That said, ratings at OWN, a partnership with Discovery Communications, have picked up this year largely because of Winfrey heightened presence. And she told CBS that despite the rocky start, she’s “never felt better” about OWN than she does now and plans to stick with it and make it work. “Elura and Michele Take Staten Island” follows two fast-talking housewives and former prosecutors who offer advice to family, friends and clients seeking mediation. It’s produced by Picture Shack Entertainment and exec produced by George Plamondon and Betsy Schecter. “Iyanla Fix My Life” features the author, inspirational speaker and talk-show host Iyanla Vanzant as she examines “how to pull back the curtain on what is broken in our lives,” OWN said. It’s produced by Harpo Studio’s Jon Sinclair and Jill Van Lokeren. “Married to the Army: Alaska” focuses on the challenges of military families and wives in the rugged state, which is home to more than 10,000 active-duty soldiers, about 7,500 of whom are deployed in Afghanistan. Show is produced by 44 Blue Productions and Stephanie Drachkovitch. “Six Little McGhees” is the working title of a skein that follows couple Maria and Ronzonno McGhee as they juggle marriage, a family business and sextuplet toddlers – the first ever born in Columbus, Ohio. It’s produced by Candor Entertainment in conjunction with Discovery Fit & Health and OWN. The new primetime gamer “Are You Normal, America?” is based on the popular “Oprah Winfrey Show” segment that asks, “Am I Normal?” and has contestants answer embarrassing questions for a chance to win cash. It’s exec produced by Harpo’s Sinclair, Van Lockeren and Barry Poznick and John Stevens for Zoo Prods. OWN said “Oprah’s Master Class” will move forward with “stories you’ve never heard from the people you thought you knew best… an unprecedented first-person insight into the brilliant minds of the famous people we love, respect and admire.” And “Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s” continues to follow Robbie Montgomery and her family at their St. Louis soul food restaurant Sweetie Pie’s. A backup singer for Ike and Tina Turner in the 1960s, Montgomery spent much of her time on tour cooking for the band.