I wasn’t able to catch the launch of Oprah Winfrey‘s new network, OWN, but I will tell you…what I have seen so far (and it’s only been the first few hours), I am blown away.
I started my New Year’s Day out watching Jay-Z tell his story on one of Oprah’s segments, “Master Class.” The entire way the segment was setup was awesome. Although some may say that it is a typical artist just ranting and talking about his or her life, it’s not like that at all. These are all people that we are really interested in listening to. These are the people that we watching everyday, listen to everyday, and possibly want to be like everyday. And there is no interviewer which is probably the best way to learn from someone. There may have been quite a bit of editing. Who cares? Oprah’s technical team makes it work.
I forget the name of the next segment where people go to an investigator to find their long-lost parent. Raw, raw, raw emotion there. For example, there was a young man, 42 years old, who went looking for his birth father after his mom passed away. The investigator located the man’s father, he spoke with his father on camera, and even setup a meeting with him. What was so special about this segment or any segment on the network is that the people don’t have to meet with those who are in pursuit of them. Sure, things are probably edited because of Oprah’s standards, but the feelings are real. The emotions are real. And there were tears before, during, and after the young man met his long-lost father and his family. You could tell it was real. This father did not have to accept the young man the way he did. He definitely didn’t have to introduce him to his extended family the way he did.
But before the “in search of…” segment, there was a segment on “Hoarders” that was just phenomenal. From beginning to end, the host, Peter Walsh, totally comforts this family and tries desperately to get to the root of the family’s issues (the father is dying of leukemia, the girls are in college-one about to graduate, and the mom is totally detached from everything). The host lovingly and miraculously gets the girls to have a discussion with their parents after they reject keeping any of their childhood items the mom is trying to prevent going to the trash or the goodwill. After all the stowed items were removed, and the coast cleared – there appeared to be peace in the home. As the healing begins, the husband’s life ends within a few months. And the mom appears that at any moment, she is going to crack. There are the smiles and the tears, but there is so much more deeply embedded in her soul. And she’s screaming for help. Peter Walsh can only do so much with the cameras rolling.
I think the new OWN Network, Oprah Winfrey’s new cable network, is going to be a smashing success. She actually has a lot to offer devoid of all the smash-bang-crash-em-up shows on other networks. If people think her network shows are too soft or feminine, just give it a watch. There’s going to be a lot for everyone to view thanks to Oprah. Then, for those men who are dads and work themselves to death, there is a show to bring them back to reality. “Kidnapped By The Kids” is a show to make any parent realize just how important family really is.