On the heels of the Wall Street Journal announcing that Oprah Winfrey’s OWN Network is the “most-watched network for African-American women,” the channel has decided to cancel a series considered one of the three shows that, in the words of Winfrey, helped OWN “turn the corner” towards success.
AlwaysAList.com has learned that OWN will not be renewing its popular reality series “Raising Whitley” for a fifth season. The series starred actress/comedienne Kym Whitley and centered around her village of friends she assembled to help her raise her adopted son, Joshua.
“Raising Whitley” resonated with viewers and became a breakout series for OWN. Because its first season performed well, “Raising Whitley” was extended from 30 minutes to an hour. Its impact on Saturday evenings helped make OWN the number one channel with African-American women on the weekends.
The success of “Raising Whitley,” as well as Iyanla Vanzant’s “Fix My Life” series and the network’s first hit franchise, “Welcome To Sweetie Pies” preceded the week-day success garnered by Winfrey’s partnership with Tyler Perry.
The season four finale of “Raising Whitley” aired on Jan. 16, 2016. The episode, titled “Telling Joshua” dealt with the comic preparing to tell her son he was adopted. The episode will now serve as the series finale.
We contacted Kym for a comment and she replied: “Me, Joshua and the entire village have enjoyed sharing our lives with the viewers. I’m so grateful that Oprah Winfrey, Sheri Salata & the entire team at OWN took a chance on our little show and gave us a platform for four seasons,” she told AlwaysAList.com, before adding: “And I will always appreciate celebrity makeup artist Derrick Rutledge for the dinner invitation that really made this all happen.”
A statement to us from a spokesperson at OWN read: “We have enjoyed working with Kym and her great ‘village’ of friends and thank them for opening their homes and sharing their lives with our viewers.”
The rep said that if fans want to voice their displeasure with the network’s decision, they can post messages on OWN’s Facebook page: www.facebook.com/ownTV.
In addition to starring on “Raising Whitley,” Kym also stars on the Freeform (formerly ABC Family) network sitcom, “Young & Hungry.” The Shaker Heights, Ohio-bred talent is also the voice of the character of Honeybee on the Adult Swim animated series, “Black Dynamite.” Kym played Honeybee in the critically-acclaimed film version of “Black Dynamite” as well.
You can catch Kym on the road this spring and into the summer with fellow comic David Arnold on their “He Said, She Said” comedy tour. She’ll also appear opposite Ice Cube in the upcoming film “Fist Fight.”