OWN said today that the upcoming fifth season of documentary series Our America With Lisa Ling will be its last. The cancellation is a significant because of Our America‘s place in OWN’s history. Premiering in February 2011, Our America was part of the network’s inaugural slate of unscripted series aimed at empowering women and helping them better their lives. It was the only show of the bunch not hosted by Winfrey to draw a sizable audience while OWN was going through major growing pains and the only one to make it that far. During OWN’s dark early months of big ratings struggles, Our America carried the torch with solid ratings and critical response. OWN finally scored a second hit in late 2011 with Welcome To Sweetie Pie’s, which signaled a turn to entertainment fare, often targeting black audiences. That trend was cemented by the mega-deal with Tyler Perry, whose scripted series are now the backbone of OWN. Acknowledging Our America‘s contributions to OWN, both of the network’s presidents spoke of the series’ exit. “Over the past three years, Our America has cast a bright light into dark places, raised awareness of some of our country’s most controversial issues and provided a voice to those who are often not heard,” said OWN President Sheri Salata. Added OWN President Erik Logan, “Lisa Ling’s top-notch journalistic work is the best in the industry, and we can’t wait to see her soar in her next chapter.”
The 10-episode fifth and final season of Our America kicks off May 29. New topics include gun violence in Philadelphia, ADHD in American families, the largest foster care system in the country, criminal informants, the HIV epidemic in the African-American community and the emotional story of a woman held captive for months. “It has been an honor to be part of the launch and success of OWN, and I am exceptionally grateful to the network and to Oprah for allowing me to produce the show of my dreams,” said Ling.