Friday, April 03, 2009


According to Variety, the veil has finally been lifted on the Oprah Winfrey Network's inaugural programming slate. Discovery Communications' Thursday upfront presentation to advertisers and their agencies offered a first look at the soon-to-launch cable network's programming plans, which will rely heavily on Winfrey's Harpo Prods., as well as personalities prominent in the mogul's empire.

Projects include a strip starring personal-organization maven Peter Walsh, as well as another starring sex therapist Dr. Laura Berman. Both shows feature hosts who are regulars on the "Oprah Winfrey Show" and denizens on Sirius Radio's "Oprah and Friends" channel, and both skeins will be produced by Harpo.

Also on tap is "Excellent Adventure" from Ashton Kutcher's Katalyst Films, which will feature celebs embarking on dream adventures with close friends; "Lisa Ling Investigates," a Harpo-produced hourlong news program; "Master Class," a profile show, also produced by Harpo, that focuses on exceptional people; and "Surfer's Healing," a docu-soap focused on former surfing pro Izzy Paskowitz produced by Snackaholic.

OWN will launch in early 2010 in more than 70 million homes on what is currently the Discovery Health Channel.

Other big news from the upfront includes a fifth-season renewal of reality skein "Jon and Kate Plus 8." The unusually lengthy upfront presentation included appearances by Jon and Kate Gosselin, who were presented with an elaborate cake by Buddy Valastro, the N.J. baker who will be the focus of TLC's new "Cake Boss" series.

After the segment, however, the promo reel introduced "Table for 12," a series about a family with 10 kids: two sets of twins and sextuplets. TLC may be hedging its bets -- Jon Gosselin is reportedly unhappy with the show spotlighting his family.