OWN beefs up programming with Oprah's 'Lifeclass.'
As an unadulterated Oprah stan, few things made me giddier last year than hearing that The Mighty O was getting her own channel, OWN. I anticipated an all-Oprah, all the time lineup, which would have made me quite happy. But what I got Jan. 1st when the channel debuted was a little bit of Oprah behind the scenes, a compelling show called "Master Class," and a lot of programming that didn't hold my attention like I'd anticipated it would.
Some viewers complained there weren't enough Black women on a network owned by a Black woman. (I swore after Oprah had Iyanla Vanzant on for a two-part episode arc on
"The Oprah Winfrey Show" that the priestess was being prepped for her own show. Uh… maybe not?) But that wasn't even it for me. Maybe I should demand more, but shoot me if I don't care what color folks are; I just wanted to see something interesting about positive women that is relatable and holds my attention.
Fast-forward to July, when Oprah stepped in to take the helm at the lagging network. (Winfrey initially planned to have a limited role in front of the cameras on OWN, but after a dip in ratings, executives insisted Oprah be more visible.) The result? Earlier this week, a new hour-long show debuted, featuring Winfrey. "Oprah's Lifeclass" features new footage of Winfrey sharing personal revelations and life lessons acquired from 25 years of "The Oprah Winfrey Show." Every night this week, Oprah has challenged viewers to tackle an obstacle that may be holding them back, like letting go of anger, finding truth and joy, and getting rid of their egos and negative thinking. (TV insiders speculate there may be a new talk show coming, too.)
For her first episode, Oprah tackled the “power of ego.” She candidly confessed that her biggest regret from her TV show was the infamous “fat wagon” moment when she dragged 67 pounds of lard on stage to symbolize the weight she’d lost (and quickly gained back). “Big, big, big, big, big, big mistake,” Oprah reflected. “When I look at that show, I think it was one of the biggest ego trips of my life.”
Oprah revealed that she thought at the time that, “being thin made me better." She also admitted that she wanted to lose weight mostly because of her insecurities about her public appearances with partner Stedman Graham. She confessed, "I knew that when people would see us together that the first thing they were thinking was, 'What's he doing with that fat girl?'" Then Oprah reminded the audience, “You are not the shape of your body… or your square footage."
Finally! This is the kind of TV I’m talking about -- empowering and entertaining. I’ll be tuning in and even signing up online to participate in the extra credit (yes, I confess, I’ve missed Oprah that much).
I’ll definitely be tuning in consistently to support a positive platform for women, will you?
Demetria L. Lucas is the author of "A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life” (Atria) in stores now. Follow her on Twitter at @abelleinbk