OWN has greenlighted two series from prolific producer Will Packer (Girls Trip, Ride Along): soapy family drama Ambitions, a co-production with Lionsgate, and unscripted dating series from a male perspective Ready to Love.
Ambitions and Ready to Love, which Packer will executive produce, are the first series to come out of Packer’s first-look deal with OWN, inked last summer as part of OWN parent Discovery Communications’ investment in Will Packer Media. (It was originally announced as a first-look for scripted series.) Packer partnered with Discovery and Universal Pictures to form the production and branded content company focused on TV and digital scripted and unscripted series, branded content as well as short-form entertainment targeting millennial audiences.
“Will is a creative powerhouse who knows what audiences want,” said Erik Logan, president of OWN. “He has an insightful approach to relationships and a keen eye for great storytelling that resonates with viewers across the board. We can’t wait to bring these two new series to our viewers.”
Ambitions (working title) is a multigenerational family saga centered around one woman who, having recently relocated and intent on revitalizing her marriage, finds herself going head to head with some of the most powerful and deceitful players in the city. Ambitions will begin production later this year and will debut on OWN in 2019. The series will be produced for OWN by Will Packer Media in association with Lionsgate/Debmar-Mercury. Will Packer Media’s Sheila Ducksworth serves as executive producer alongside Packer; writer Jamey Giddens serves as co-executive producer.
Ready to Love (working title), which begins production in Atlanta this spring, will join OWN’s popular Saturday night unscripted programming lineup later this year. The dating series will focus on successful men and women of all shapes, sizes and shades, each of whom is looking for lasting love. A unique twist on a typical dating show, Ready to Love will specifically bring the perspective of men to the forefront, presenting an opportunity to see what men say about dating when women aren’t around. Ready to Love will be produced by Will Packer Media and Lighthearted Entertainment. Will Packer Media’s Kelly Smith and Lighthearted’s Rob LaPlante and Jeff Spangler will executive produce along with Packer.
“Partnering with OWN to bring Ambitions and Ready to Love to their fast-growing lineup of critically acclaimed series is a win-win scenario,” said Will Packer, CEO and founder of Will Packer Media. “OWN has been on an incredible streak with its recent slate, and we’re looking forward to extending the network’s primetime success with these new shows created specifically with the OWN audience in mind.”
OWN is coming off delivered its highest rated first quarter in four years in the network’s key W25-54 demo with year-over-year gains of +6% in W25-54, +15% in African American women and +5% in total viewers. In addition, year-to-date OWN is the #1 cable network for African American women in primetime.
The two new series join OWN’s slate of popular dramas Queen Sugar, Greenleaf, The Haves and the Have Nots, and If Loving You is Wrong – four of the top eight original scripted series on ad-supported cable in 2017 for women 25-54; popular sitcom The Paynes, the upcoming dramedy Love Is __, premiering this summer, and the successful Saturday night unscripted series Iyanla: Fix My Life The Book of John Gray, the departing Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s and Black Love. Additionally, OWN’s new drama series from Academy Award winner Tarell Alvin McCraney (Moonlight) will go into production this summer.
Packer is helping to fill an upcoming void at OWN as its most prolific creator, Tyler Perry, who is behind hits The Haves and the Have Nots, If Loving You is Wrong and The Paynes, is moving to Viacom. Like Perry, who also is known mostly for his comedy brand, Packer is taking a dramatic turn for his first scripted series on OWN.