Ahead of Discovery Communications’ upfront presentation in New York this afternoon, OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network announced the green light for four primetime unscripted series, Elura and Michele Take Staten Island, about 2 Staten Island best friends who are former prosecutors, Iyanla Fix My Life, starring inspirational speaker Iyanla Vanzant, Married to the Army: Alaska, about army wives in Alaska, and Six Little McGhees, about a family with sextuplets. Additionally, the network has renewed Oprah’s Master Class, which has posted ratings increases in Season 2, for a third season and has ordered 10 additional episodes of one of the fledgling network’s most popular shows, docu-series Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s, about the family behind the popular St. Louis soul food restaurant. OWN also announced that producer Barry Poznick (Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?) and comedienne Kim Coles (Living Single) have been tapped as hosts of the upcoming game show Are You Normal, America?, which premieres this summer. It is based on the Am I Normal segment on the Oprah Winfrey Show.
“We have solid momentum and are building the network with a strong mix of programs that connect and engage with our audience,” said Sheri Salata, president, OWN. “The new series announced today are relevant shows with real stakes, real drama and a whole lot of heart.” Here are descriptions of the new series:
ARE YOU NORMAL, AMERICA? From Harpo Studios comes the new game show “Are You Normal, America?,” hosted by veteran TV producer Barry Poznick (“Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader”) and comedienne/actress Kim Coles (“Living Single”). Have you ever peeked at your boyfriend’s emails? Or done your household chores naked? Do you and your spouse sleep in separate bedrooms? This lively game show will answer burning questions by using a highly scientific and deeply revealing poll, in addition to a “jury” of real Americans, man-on-the-street polling, real life situations shot in the field, and in-studio demonstrations. Each episode will feature contestants who will win big money in their quest to learn if they’re normal or not. Produced by Harpo Studios with Zoo Productions. Executive producers are Jill Van Lokeren and Jon Sinclair from Harpo Studios, as well as Barry Poznick and John Stevens from Zoo Productions (producers of “Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?”).
ELURA AND MICHELE TAKE STATEN ISLAND
Meet Elura and Michele, two-fast talking best friends from Staten Island. They might look like your ordinary housewives, but they happen to be former prosecutors who know how to tell it like it is. Everyone has a problem, and it turns out, Elura and Michele are pros at telling people what to do. Whether it’s their crazy Staten Island families, or clients who pay for their mediation services, Elura and Michele are not afraid to get in the middle of things. Produced by Picture Shack Entertainment, and executive produced by George Plamondon and Betsy Schechter.
IYANLA FIX MY LIFE
Iyanla Vanzant is an accomplished author, inspirational speaker, talk show host, and living testament to the value in life’s valleys and the power of acting on faith. Iyanla has had a unique life filled with many personal struggles that she has overcome and used to become stronger. Now Iyanla is back, fixing lives and using her past to help others’ futures. Secrets will be revealed, truths will be uncovered and emotions will come out as Iyanla teaches us how to pull back the curtain on what is broken in our lives. Produced by Harpo Studios. Executive producers are Jon Sinclair and Jill Van Lokeren.
MARRIED TO THE ARMY: ALASKA
Alaska is home to more than 10,000 active-duty soldiers, about 7,500 of whom are currently deployed in Afghanistan. The war in Iraq may be over, but for those families whose loved ones are still gone, life is challenging, especially in “the last frontier,” an assignment the military considers as demanding as an “overseas” post. For the women whose husbands serve in the US Army, “deployment” is not just an abstract word heard on the evening news. It’s real, it’s tough, and it turns their world upside down. Military wives find themselves in a unique sisterhood that only they can understand. Produced by 44 Blue Productions. The executive producer is Stephanie Drachkovitch.
SIX LITTLE MCGHEES (working title)
“Six Little McGhees” follows the inspirational lives of Mia and Rozonno McGhee as they juggle marriage, a family business, and six adorable toddlers! High school sweethearts who banded together to rise above their impoverished roots, Mia and Ro never imagined that they would be blessed with Columbus, Ohio’s first sextuplets. Together, with an unconventional army of volunteers, they prove that with a lot of love and a little support, anyone can beat the odds. “Six Little McGhees” is produced by Candor Entertainment, in conjunction with Discovery Fit & Health and OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network.