WE tv's No Longer Women Only & It's a Step in the Right Direction
So, WE tv has officially removed the word "women" from its name. You know, the "W" of "WE"? Yeah: it's MTV removing the "music" all over again. Only in this instance, the AMC Networks' network isn't abandoning anything: it's respecting the audience. Because women-fronted networks have long been a terrible joke.
According to WE tv's president, Marc Juris, the network will remain “a leading destination for women on television and online" while simultaneously broadening the audience interpretation of the word 'We.' "The idea of 'WE' as all of us – sharing common interests and experiences – is a powerful and universal theme which drives connection, conversation, collaboration and community," he added. And marketing decision or otherwise, it's the right way to go, because we've got to move beyond our current ideas of what makes television suitable or female-centric.
And WE is removing the women not because it doesn't want women viewers anymore, but because it's finally taking its audience seriously. I mean, really: Why do women need their own channels anyway? Isn't the implication there — that women's predilections for television consumption are somehow fundamentally different from men — sort of sexist? Particularly when you take into consideration just how bad the programming is on female-centric networks? Is there really a need for "special" "lady" programming?
Just one look at WE tv's roster of programs and the case to get rid of them is easily made. WE tv has long been known for series like Braxton Family Values, Tamar & Vince, Mary Mary, L.A. Hair, and SWV Reunited. All of these are reality and/or docu-series: which is to say they're all offensively the same thing. None of them are really all that nuanced or developed or groundbreaking or speak to the many, many different tastes of women.
Because guess what — there is more than one type of female TV viewer: just like the dudes, isn't that nutty?! There's nary a scripted show to be found — at least until its first, The Divide, from Richard LaGravenese and Tony Goldwyn, premieres on July 16th. Other networks made for women, like Lifetime and Oxygen feature shows of a similar ilk — Bad Girls Club, The Face, I'm Having Their Baby, Dance Moms, Preachers' Daughters — which is to say total freaking dreck.
Honestly, it's all a bit offensive. And, damn it, female TV watchers are smarter than that, and deserve a hell of a lot better. So, really, the WE tv move is actually a coup for its female viewers, who will finally (hopefully?) get the intelligent programming they deserve. Naturally, the reengineering broadens its horizons. If their old roster is indicative of what they think women actually want then, well, shit: broadening their own horizons is exactly what they needed to do, because female TV watchers make up the majority of TV's audience, and in order to capture their attention, you have to actually respect their intelligence and taste level by treating them like everyone else. So kudos to you, WE tv. And arrivederci antiquated programming (hopefully).