Hate It or Love It?!?! Oprah’s OWN Channel Debuts To Mixed Reviews

The maiden voyage of Oprah’s new flagship set sail on Saturday and although the expectations were sky high for the media mogul the critics aren’t quite ready to bathe her in praise just yet.

…Caryn James, the former New York Times critic who now blogs at IndieWire, wrote that the network had “a whiff of spirituality, a huge amount of life-style fluff, and a surprising layer of substance,” though she cautioned that the shows on offer–which include reality shows centered around celebrities such as the Judds, Shania Twain and Sarah Ferguson, as well as programs with Oprah stablemates like Dr. Phil and Gayle King–were not for the non-Oprah fans out there. James sounded an optimistic note about some of the more serious documentary programming to come on the channel as well.

Salon’s Matt Zoller Seitz committed himself to watch an entire day of the network. Zoller Seitz assured readers that he was not a fan of Oprah, and that he had begun his experiment by resolving not to “succumb to [Oprah's] cult-of-personality Amway malarkey.” He had plenty of bile for some of the shows on the channel, and wrote that the will.i.am-penned theme song almost had him “weaving a noose from nylon recycling twine and scrawling a farewell note.”

However, he wrote, the channel slowly started to work its way into his brain, and he found himself starting to care about Jay-Z while watching an episode of OWN’s “Master Class,” where celebrities talk about their life and talents. By the end of the day, Zoller Seitz said, “I have succumbed to Stockholm syndrome and am making lists of clutter to remove from my own home and resolving to enroll immediately in a cooking class…damn you, Oprah Winfrey, and Happy New Year.”

The most negative review came from The Root’s Jennifer Mabry. She pronounced herself “disappointed” by the programming for OWN, which, she said, “seems content to follow the new television model of programming that exploded in the wake of the 2008 Hollywood writers’ strike: Find anyone with a heartbeat and a willingness to have cameras follow them during their ordinary day-to-day life, and voilà — we’ve got ourselves a TV show!”

Listen, nevermind these critics, Oprah didn’t make all that money by putting her name on some bullsh*t. The Miami Heat started the season on shaky ground too, and now look at them. Fall back and watch how this thing plays out…haters!

How many of you all watched the programs on OWN this weekend? What was your impression?

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