Staff Report

OWN AND PACKER: Will Packer is producing two new shows for the Oprah Winfrey Network.

LOS ANGELES – Will Packer is already a household name in the black community because of his popular movies. The “Think Like a Man” series, as well as “Girls Trip,” “Straight Outta Compton,” “Ride Along,” and others rake in millions at the box office. The Florida A & M University graduate is now expanding his television presence (“Roots,” “Being Mary Jane”) to the Oprah Winfrey Network.

Packer’s Media banner is producing the soapy new drama series “Ambitions” from global content leader Lions gate and the unscripted dating series “Ready to Love.” Packer will serve as executive producer for both series. The new shows mark the first television series to be created under Packer’s first-look deal with the network launched by the talk show dynamo in 2011.

“Will is a creative powerhouse who knows what audiences want,” said Erik Logan, president of OWN.”He has an insightful approach to relationships and a keen eye for great storytelling that resonates with viewers across the board. We can’t wait to bring these two new series to our viewers.”

The announcement comes as OWN’s momentum and diversified programming slate continues to grow. The network recently delivered its highest rated first quarter in four years in the network’s key W25-54 demo with year-over-year gains of six percent in W25-54, 15 percent in African American women and five percent in total viewers. In addition, year-to-date OWN is the top cable network for African American women in primetime.

“Partnering with OWN to bring “Ambitions” and “Ready to Love” to their fast-growing lineup of critically acclaimed series is a win-win scenario,” said Packer, CEO and founder of Will Packer Media.

“OWN has been on an incredible streak with its recent slate, and we’re looking forward to extending the network’s primetime success with these new shows created specifically with the OWN audience in mind.”

“Ambitions” is a multigenerational family saga centered around one woman who, having recently relocated and intent on revitalizing her marriage, finds herself going head to head with some of the most powerful and deceitful players in the city. The series will begin production later this year and will debut on OWN in 2019.

“Ready to Love”, which begins production in Atlanta this spring, will join OWN’s popular Saturday night unscripted programming lineup later this year. The dating series will focus on successful men and women of all shapes, sizes and shades, each is looking for lasting love. A unique twist on a typical dating show, “Ready to Love” will specifically bring the perspective of men to the forefront by revealing what men say about dating, when women aren’t around.

The two new series join OWN’s primetime programming slate including the popular dramas “Queen Sugar,” “Greenleaf,” “The Haves and the Have Nots,” and “If Loving You is Wrong,” – four of the top eight original scripted series on ad-supported cable in 2017 for women 25-54; the hit sitcom “The Paynes,”

the upcoming dramedy “Love Is__” premiering this summer, and the successful Saturday night unscripted series “Iyanla: Fix My Life,” “The Book of John Gray,” “Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s” and “Black Love.” In addition, the network’s new drama series from Academy Award winner Tarell Alvin McCraney (“Moonlight”) will go into production this summer.