'The Gary Owen Show:' Reality series about local comedian premieres on BET

Posted at 5:30 PM, Oct 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-12 18:01:57-04

CINCINNATI -- "The Gary Owen Show," a new reality television show following the lives of the Cincinnati comedian and his interracial family, premiered Tuesday night on BET.

"The response has been great," said Owen, who grew up near Oxford, Ohio. "It's been all positive. It was nice to showcase the city a little bit. I got no complaints, man. It was funny."

Tuesday's premiere was the first of 10 half-hour episodes of the show, which began filming in Cincinnati in July. The show airs on BET at 9:30 p.m. Tuesdays.

In the first episode, Owen welcomed a friend to stay in his home and considered a movie role that he thought would require him to strip "Magic Mike"-style. The episode also featured Owen dancing in his underwear at Below Zero Lounge. 

"I've done four movies with scenes of me in my underwear," Owen said. "It's old hat to me. You would think I had a body like Brad Pitt as much as people ask me to take my clothes off in TV and film."

Owen's wife, Kenya, who also stars in the show along with their three children, advised her husband to pass on the role. (She wryly noted that in 13 years of marriage, she had never glimpsed an abdominal muscle on Owen's body.) In the end, Owen is offered a role in the movie -- but not as a stripper.

"I'm confirmed for the movie," said Owen, two months after the show was taped. "We just don't have a start date. We just have to find some more of those male strippers."

The premiere featured views of Cincinnati's skyline, the Roebling Suspension Bridge and Smale Riverfront Park. Future episodes will highlight restaurants and businesses from Dayton, Ohio, to Northern Kentucky. 

People also will get an intimate glimpse of Owen in the seventh episode, in which he visits his alma mater, Talawanda High School in Oxford. Owen graduated from the school in 1991. Owen said that during the episode, he speaks with current Talawanda students about his own life choices, while touching on the 2015 heroin overdose death of his brother.

"We dedicated an entire episode to that," Owen said. "It's a pretty powerful episode." 

Owen said that overall the series, which he executive produced, positively reflects the daily routine most families face. He added that the portrayal is timely, citing the negativity of the current presidential campaigns and rising racial tensions across the country.  

"There is just so much negativity and dirt being thrown on everything," the comedian said. "We don't get into big arguments or anything like that -- a few disagreements. It's normal stuff that everybody goes through. That's the goal of the show. We want people to relate to us. We show the normal day-to-day life between most black and white people."

The show drew praise from fans on Twitter, where the show's hashtag trended during the broadcast. Here's a sampling of reactions.

'The Gary Owen Show' premieres on BET