Entries in OWN (23)


Tika Sumpter Channels Her Inner 'Feisty' on New OWN Show

PRNewsFoto/Discovery Communications(LOS ANGELES) -- Tika Sumpter returns to the small screen to play Candace on the Oprah Winfrey Network's new scripted drama The Haves and the Have Nots, which premieres May 28. After portraying mini-mogul Raina Thorpe on Gossip Girl and recovering alcoholic Jenna on The Game, Sumpter says this role is more "feisty" than previous ones.

"Candace is an ambitious, smart, young woman who makes choices that you may not always agree with," the 32-year-old New York native tells ABC News Radio. "She's definitely a feisty, ambitious, sometimes vulnerable, but she's all about climbing the ladder at this point."

The ladder that Sumpter is referring to is the social ladder, which is central to The Haves and the Have Nots, created by Tyler Perry. The series, set in Savannah, Georgia, follows the complex Cryer family and their hired help, who cook and clean for them inside their mansion. Sumpter's Candace is the estranged daughter of maid Hanna Young, but she's also the paid mistress of the Cryer patriarch, Jim Cryer.

The One Life to Live alum didn't have to audition for the part. After working with Perry in his upcoming Tyler Perry's A Madea Christmas, out Dec. 13, the director/producer offered her the part.

"We started talking about it on set there and I was like, 'Oh, ok. Well, yeah, send me the scripts or whatever.' And he did and I couldn't stop reading it," she explains. "And they offered me the role and then long story short, I took it."

One person was glad she did: Oprah Winfrey, who created OWN, and who personally tapped Perry to bring his scripted sitcoms to the network. He's also premiering a comedy, Love Thy Neighbor on May 29.

"[Winfrey] was there for my scene. I was at...the beginning of the day, and all I could hear was [squeals.] You know what I mean? And I heard Tyler go, 'Shhhh!'" Sumpter recalls to ABC News Radio. "We finished the scene and we were doing another take and she goes, 'Oh my God, Tika.' She was just like, 'Do you understand how amazing and delicious your character is? Like, you are playing this role!'"

Tyler Perry's The Haves and the Have Nots, which also stars John Schneider, Renée Lawless and Crystal Fox, premieres on OWN Tuesday, May 28 at 9 p.m. Eastern time.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


La Toya Jackson's New Reality Show Premieres This Weekend

Photo by Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage(NEW YORK) -- Fresh off her appearance on All-Star Celebrity Apprentice, La Toya Jackson is moving on to another reality show.

The series Life With La Toya premieres Saturday night at 10:30 p.m. Eastern time on Oprah Winfrey's OWN network. It will document La Toya's career and family life.

Though the OWN website's official description of Life With La Toya describes her as a "fun-loving aunt," don't expect to see much of Michael Jackson's three kids on the show. La Toya tells ABC News Radio, "There is a quick clip of them in the show and we were in Indiana at a baseball game and the kids happen to be there...but as far as being a part of the show and in the series, absolutely not."

La Toya laments the fact that her family became fractured following Michael's death in 2009. She says, "I was always told when a loved one dies that it kind of destroys a family, and there's not as much togetherness as it was before. Well, I never believed that. And I experienced it when my brother passed. I don't know what happened, but everybody had their own opinions. It's not the way it used to be."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Oprah Winfrey's OWN Network Slapped with Sex Discrimination Lawsuit

ABC/Lou Rocco(LOS ANGELES) -- Oprah Winfrey's OWN network has been sued by a former employee who claims she is the victim of sex and pregnancy discrimination.

Carolyn Hommel alleges in a lawsuit filed Friday in Los Angeles Superior Court that she was replaced by a temporary employee when she took a medical leave during a pregnancy.  Hommel claims that when she returned to work, her duties were gradually removed and she was excluded from meetings, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Hommel was hired in 2010 as the senior director of scheduling and acquisitions at OWN.

According to her lawsuit, on March 19, 2012, one month after giving birth to her daughter, Hommel was informed she was being terminated.

Hommel claims she was encouraged to apply for a more senior position, such as a vice president position, but when she did, she was passed over by her boss.  Hommel alleges her boss, Michael Garner, made her job duties and responsibilities seem “less senior” in a performance review, so she would not considered for the new vice president position.

Garner is also named as a defendant in the suit, which alleges sex discrimination, disability discrimination, failure to prevent discrimination, retaliation and willful failure to pay wages upon discharge or termination.

Hommel is seeking unspecified damages.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Oprah Signs La Toya Jackson for New Reality Series

Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage(LOS ANGELES) -- Oprah Winfrey’s latest effort to lure viewers to OWN involves La Toya Jackson, Variety reports. 

The Oprah Winfrey Network has ordered Life With La Toya, a reality series that will focus on La Toya’s busy life and famous family.

La Toya issued a statement saying, “I am so pleased to be working with television legend Oprah Winfrey and to be a part of the OWN family.  This will be one of the most exciting adventures of my life.”

Life With La Toya premieres in 2013.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Oprah Winfrey's India Special Draws Criticism

Ramesh Sharma/India Today Group/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Oprah Winfrey took OWN viewers to a land far away in an Oprah's Next Chapter special on India this past weekend, and ended up receiving criticism from other viewers who watched the two-hour special as it was simulcast on Discovery Channel India. Some DCI viewers said Oprah seemed "arrogant" and "ignorant."

Winfrey, with cameras in tow, trekked to a slum in Mumbai and also attended an upscale Bollywood party hosted in her honor. Some viewers criticized Oprah for asking dinner guests, “I heard some Indian people eat with their hands still?”

In an open letter on CNN-IBN, a news website jointly run by CNN and Network18, Rituparna Chatterjee complained, “We are used to gross Western ignorance regarding our ancient country. But as a responsible public figure about to air a show that will be beamed across the world, you should have done your homework."

It was the slum visit that rubbed writer Rajyasree Sen the wrong way. "[Oprah] marveled at how all their clothes fit onto a small shelf. She pointedly avoided any mention of the massive LCD TV, which adorned their wall. That would have killed the sob story.”  Sen called the special "unaware" and "ignorant."

Winfrey and OWN have not responded to the viewer complaints.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Report: Oprah Winfrey Demoted at OWN Network

Discovery Communications, Inc.(NEW YORK) -- The flat-lining ratings at Oprah Winfrey's OWN network have caused the network's co-owners to strip the one-time talk titan of her executive power, and caused Winfrey to suffer a personal "tailspin" of drinking and binge eating, The National Enquirer reports.

It's estimated the network has lost some $330 million.

Quoting an insider, the magazine says Discovery Communications' "power coup" left Winfrey "in tears," and she was informed of the bombshell move at a meeting that left her "feeling as if the wind had been knocked out of her."

While Winfrey was allowed to keep her CEO title, it's apparently just that, as she was deemed to be "too inexperienced to run the net­work," according to the magazine's source.

"She's no longer in a position to make executive decisions or hire staff without consulting top Discovery executives first...For Oprah, this is a bitter personal failure and a devastating blow to her ego," the spy says.

The publication had already reported that "Oprah hit the 280-pound mark as a result of binge eating and boozing over stress from her failing network, among other things," and "...[f]riends fear she could hit 300 pounds over her current problems."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Report: Oprah Winfrey Wants Maria Shriver for OWN

Barry Brecheisen/WireImage(LOS ANGELES) -- Rosie O’Donnell didn’t have much success getting ratings for Oprah Winfrey’s struggling OWN cable channel, but maybe Maria Shriver will have better luck. reports Winfrey wants Shriver to begin work in the fall. 

A source tells the website Oprah “has been in discussions with Maria for a very long time about doing a news/special interest driven show for OWN.” 

The report says Shriver would not necessarily host her own show, but more likely would do specials for the ratings-challenged channel.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Rosie O'Donnell Opens Up About Show Closing Down

Michael Tullberg/Getty Images(CHICAGO) -- If there's any bitterness from Rosie O'Donnell about Oprah Winfrey cancelling The Rosie Show, she's not admitting it -- on air, at least.

O'Donnell took time during the final taping Tuesday of her ratings-challenged talk show to address Winfrey's decision to yank the show from OWN's schedule after its March 30 telecast.  It's a move O'Donnell called "fair."

Despite continuous re-tooling of the show -- and reported static behind the scenes -- O'Donnell couldn't replicate the fame of her earlier chat show hit The Rosie O'Donnell Show.

“Listen, Oprah gave me an amazing shot," O'Donnell admitted.  "She put me back on TV, she believed in me…and off I came to Chicago with the best of intentions, trying to do what I thought would be kind of easy for me.  But it really wasn’t.”

Referencing her former chat show success, O’Donnell quoted Lewis Carroll, saying, "I can’t go back to yesterday, because I was a different person then -- and that’s sort of what I figured out.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Oprah Winfrey's Cable Network Lays Off 20% of Its Staff

Discovery Communications, Inc.(CHICAGO) -- Three days after Oprah Winfrey's cable network cut ties with Rosie O'Donnell, OWN announced Monday that it has laid off 30 of its employees. reports Winfrey, who serves as CEO of the network, cited an ineffective "cost structure" as the reason for the decision.

"As CEO, I have a responsibility to chart the course for long-term success for the network.  To wholly achieve that long-term success, this was a necessary next step," she said.

As part of the network's restructuring, OWN laid off 20 percent of its staff, including its senior vice president of production, while other executives are shifting into new roles.

On Friday, OWN announced it had cancelled O'Donnell's evening talk show after five months.  The final episode of The Rosie Show will air March 30.

OWN has struggled to find a sizable audience since launching in early 2011.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Oprah Comforts Bobbi Kristina in Upcoming Interview

Paul Zimmerman/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Two days after it was announced that the former queen of daytime talk Oprah Winfrey had nabbed Bobbi Kristina’s first interview since the death of her mother Whitney Houston, Winfrey’s network released a trailer for the upcoming interview showing Winfrey comforting the 18-year-old girl.

“The world lost an icon, they lost a mother and a sister,” Winfrey says in the trailer, while a picture of Houston with her sister-in-law Patricia Houston and daughter Bobbi Kristina is shown.

Winfrey’s interview with Houston’s family, including her brother Gary and his wife Patricia, the singer’s manager, will air on Oprah’s Next Chapter at 9 p.m. Sunday on OWN. It’s the family’s first sit-down interview since the singer’s sudden death Feb. 11.

In the trailer, Winfrey refers to Bobbi Kristina as “the love of Whitney’s life, her only child.”

According to a network press release, Houston’s daughter will share “personal memories of her mom and how she would like the iconic superstar to be remembered.”

“The family also addresses the rumors and speculation surrounding Houston’s death,” the press release said.

According to TMZ, Bobbi Kristina told friends that she agreed to sit down with Winfrey because she “was loyal to my mom, and never did my mother wrong, or made her look bad. She always looked out for my mom.”

Before the interview, OWN will re-air its special, “Remembering Whitney: The Oprah Interview,” which features the singer’s 2009 interview on The Oprah Winfrey Show and Winfrey’s personal memories of Houston.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio