Yes men, The Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) can offer something for you too. From the inception of this network, the casual observer can easily see that it was marketed towards the female demographic. But, upon further examination, I have discovered that it can be beneficial for the opposite sex, too. It seems like men are hard-wired to oppose entertainment that has historically been geared towards women. The truth is, men end up liking the romantic comedies they claim they are “dragged” to by their significant others.
There are men who become fans of daytime soap operas. There are men who tune in and even participate (via voting) in ‘American Idol’ and ‘Dancing with the Stars’. Instead of pretending there is no redeeming value in these types of programs, let’s try to embrace it. We can start this symbolic cuddle with a deeper exploration of OWN. Here are five reasons why I think more men should watch this network…
1. OWN is flat-out good for the soul.
I know a man who watches football on Sundays, wrestling on Mondays, and has an affinity for gangster movies will find it hard to get into television for the soul. In fact, most of the time when I tune into one of these shows, the audience is usually full of women who are waiting and willing to hear what they are doing wrong in their lives and how they can do better. Why should that help only be available for women? It’s a shame that Spike TV (a station geared towards men) doesn’t offer something that would help men in a similar manner.
Men just need to tap into their sensitive sides sometimes. It often feels like men are just supposed to be knuckle-draggers who come when called and zone out when there are men sweating around a leather ball. Life is more than combat. Any man with friends and family would be doing themselves a favor by checking out at least one of this enriching episodes.
2. Oprah can still bring out the stars.
Men love stars just as much as women. Any person that is newsworthy will get to take a seat next to the most powerful woman in entertainment. The Big 3 for the Miami Heat (LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh) were all interviewed after they won their first NBA title together. Arsenio Hall was interviewed after his talk show made its triumphant return. Robin Thicke was interviewed when his song “Blurred Lines” was topping the charts in the summer of 2013.
Even without a conventional talk show, Oprah continues to interview the biggest and brightest Hollywood has to offer. Men love Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon and Conan O’Brien, don’t we? Oprah is essentially no different from your favorite late night talk show host. Even the manliest of men can recognize that, right? Men can get fooled into thinking that just because Oprah is doing an interview on the OWN Network, that it is somehow an interview geared towards women. That is not true.
3. They do not have ordinary reality shows.
I can’t stand most reality shows. OWN has its share of ordinary reality shows like ‘Raising Whitney’, ‘Sweetie Pies’, and ‘Six Little McGhees’ but they subjugate that with quality shows like ‘Our America with Lisa Ling’ and ‘Unfaithful: Stories of Betrayal’. The Unfaithful show is really something else. It blends real-life interviews with helpful reenactments that make the stories come to life. The fact that real couples are willing to go on the show and talk about the adultery that tore their marriage apart is fascinating. In the end, some couples stay together, but all who come on the show seem to have figured out that their actions have consequences and there is healing in honesty. I can’t say enough about the quality of this program.
For men, the loveable basketball JaVale McGee has a reality show with his mother, entitled, ‘Mom’s Got Game’. Deion Sanders recently wrapped up the 6-episode first season of ‘Deion’s Family Playbook’, which details the life of his family, his girlfriend (and her family), and his new charter school he has started. They both are a little campy, but do offer a unique look into both of these athlete’s environments, that we wouldn’t ordinarily get to see. None of these reality shows can top Iyanla Vanzant’s show (which leads us to my number four reason).
4. Iyanla Vanzant can indeed “Fix” a grown man’s life.
I must admit it… I love this woman. She tells people the truth, and is unabashed in her pursuit of fixing the problem. She is the host and central figure of the show ‘Iyanla Fix My Life’. In a nutshell, some person(s) is having a problem, and she goes in and helps them get to the bottom of it. She’s helped families grow closer together, husband and wives fix their sex life, and even dead-beat dads realize the error in their ways. She’s also tackled problems for a few celebrities like retired NFL wide receiver Terrell Owens and rapper DMX (although her methods didn’t quite help DMX, it was still the most entertaining episode she ever had).
If you’ve never seen this show, you are really doing yourself a disservice. I love watching someone try to tell her “their side of the story,” only to have her yell, “Uh-Huh, stop lying! Don’t even try that with me! It’s time to tell the truth!” It’s television gold. The thing that sets her apart is her unwillingness to just follow the status quo. Not having a job seems like a pretty sensible reason to not pay child support until you meet Ms. Vanzant. That kind or reasoning is just an excuse in her eyes, and on national television she will call you out as a lazy deadbeat who doesn’t want to live up to your responsibilities. She tells the sort of truth that is usually only reserved for Charles Barkley.
5. Tyler Perry isn’t nearly as annoying to men as he may seem.
Let’s face it – The man knows how to draw an audience. Most of his movies have been geared toward a very specific target audience (African-American women), so most men won’t give his brand of entertainment a try. I have to admit that this ‘The Haves and the Have Nots’ show is primetime soap worthy of the fanfare bestowed upon ‘Dallas’ and ‘Knots Landing’ in the 80s. The cast is diverse, the stories are sultry, and the suspense goes well beyond the typical Perry effort (in a good way). There is literally something for everyone with this program. If you can suspend your belief for an hour, this show can surely be entertaining… even for a man.
Perry had slight success with a few shows on TBS in the past and decided to help out his friend Oprah Winfrey by moving one of those shows ‘For Better or Worse’ to her network. This program follows a couple characters from Perry’s wildly successfully ‘Why Did I Get Married’ movie franchise. He also produces/writes that show ‘Love Thy Neighbor’ for the network as well.
In an article written last summer, Bloomberg BusinessWeek attributed Perry and his programming as the main reason OWN finally made a profit. That is reason enough for men to at least give this network chance isn’t it. After all, the male species are natural front-runners.