Discovery's David Zaslav To Target African-Americans For Oprah's OWN: UBS Confab

OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network may be struggling in the ratings but Discovery Communications CEO David Zaslav says he believes the channel just needs more time to connect with viewers. The success of Welcome To Sweetie Pie’s is one bright spot — the show has averaged 388,000 total viewers and a 0.38 rating among women aged 25-54 in its Saturday time slot, but Zaslav points out the rating rises to a 2 in the African-American community. He suggests that catering more to an African-American audience might give OWN a boost. “The African-American community is finding OWN a little bit faster than the rest of America,” Zaslav said. “We’re going to look at ways to nurture and grow that.”

Sweetie-Pie’s follows a St. Louis soul-food restaurant run by former Ike and Tina Turner backup singer Robbie Montgomery. Additional episodes have been ordered and begin production this month. Our America With Lisa Ling has also posted double-digit growth across key demos and has averaged 405,000 viewers in its timeslot according to OWN. A recent Our America about African-American men in prison also earned a drew a 2 rating in the African American community, Zaslav said. Zaslav also is looking forward to Winfrey’s new talker Oprah’s Next Chapter which debuts in January. OWN also has set previously unveiled new show Money Class With Suze Orman for a January launch. Even with the challenges OWN faces “advertisers have been very, very supportive,” Zaslav said. “If you can create a network in a niche that doesn’t exist and then deliver something that is meaningful, you can create a big business. CNBC did it. We think we can do it with OWN.”

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