Oprah Winfrey’s OWN network is gearing up for the series premiere of the dram series Greenleaf. At an advance screening of the show, Oprah revealed that she committed to Bishop T.D. Jakes that she would not do anything that disrespect the church.
“All my life I have been trying to use ‘the word,’ and words, as a way of saying to the audience … whatever the audience was, the [“O”] magazine, or “The Oprah Show,” and now OWN, to say: ‘Here is a way to look at yourself, and can you see you in this picture? Here is a way out, here is a way up, here is a way through.
“This is just another platform [TV drama] to able to do that, in a really collaborative way,” Winfrey said.
There’s one man Winfrey does not want to see himself reflected in the picture: Bishop T.D. Jakes.
The lead character in the show, a villainous patriarch who presides over servant-hosted dinner parties like “Downton Abbey’s” Lord Grantham, is named Bishop James Greenleaf. Meanwhile, the real-life media-savvy Jakes runs a 30,000-member megachurch in Dallas, Texas.
“The only resemblance is that our main character is named ‘Bishop’ and your name is ‘Bishop,’” Winfrey recalled assuring Jakes on a preemptive phone call.
“From my lips to your ears, ‘I, Oprah Winfrey, am not going to do anything that disrespect the church,” Winfrey says she told the pastor. “I am sitting where I am today because of the black church.”
Jakes, who has a nationally-syndicated talk show arriving this fall, had a clean response: “Send me a tape.”
“Greenleaf” will premiere Tuesday, June 21 at 10 p.m. on OWN before settling into a regular Wednesdays at 10 p.m. time slot.