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Weekend Watch: Mama June and 'The Obama Years'

We tv tonight (Feb. 24) launches a new reality series Mama June: From Not To Hot, which chronicles the weight loss journey of reality personality and former Here Comes Honey Boo-Boo star Mama June Shannon. WE tv president Marc Juris said her remarkable transformation – WE tv won’t reveal how Mama June looks now until the series finale – will draw attention and viewers to the series.

“We love shows with big characters and we felt that was a great story to follow,” he said. “It's unique and real which was important, it has a really strong arc, and I think it's incredibly relatable. Who doesn't want to transform, lose weight and get into shape? This is a very compelling story about changing your life and taking control.”

Juris is also counting on social media to build interest in the series, especially leading up the big reveal. He added social media will continue to enhance the appeal for unscripted content as viewers look to engage and discuss the real lives of people they see on television.  

“I often tell people life is not something you live anymore, it’s something you post,” Juris said. “Our stories do not end with an episode; it keeps going. So viewers can follow Mama June after the finale and see how her story unfolds. It provides a much greater level of engagement.”

Smithsonian Channel on Monday will debut its documentary The Obama Years: The Power Of Words, but the network says the show has already received positive reviews from audiences attending more than 13 pre-screenings of the documentary around the country.

While The Obama Years isn’t overtly politically-leaning – it examines several of Obama’s most famous speeches during his eight-year Presidency – executive producer Charles Poe said that the documentary has spurred a lot of discussion across its 11-city tour about not only Obama’s legacy but also what the country is facing with a new administration in place.

“It’s never happened in my experience but we had a standing ovation after the film, which you don’t usually see with documentaries,” Poe said of the Feb. 7 Washington DC screening at the National Museum of American History.

In Houston, local legislators actually proclaimed Feb. 16 “Obama Years Day” in recognition of the documentary’s screening at the city’s Museum of Natural Science, according to Poe.

“I think it’s natural for there to be a little bit of nostalgia looking backward as a new President starts off,” added Poe. “[Obama] has been a daily part of our lives for the last eight years and to some degree in at least half the country, there’s an interest in reliving how we got here.”

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.