There are plenty of over-the-top, ridiculous reality shows about kooky people with crazier lives. But every once in a while, you find a sweet program like Raising Whitley, which airs at 9pm on Saturdays on OWN. The docu-series follows comedienne Kym Whitley as she raises a baby she adopted on an hour’s notice, after her mentee left him at the hospital. Tissues! Get to know the hilarious Kym here!
OK!: Can you describe the premise of this show?
Kym Whitley: The show is called Raising Whitley. It’s on OWN, the Oprah Winfrey network, on Saturdays at 9pm. This is our second seson. It is a show about me adopting a baby boy in less than an hour, became an instant mom, and how I navigate with a bunch of friends that I have formed, which raise baby Joshua. I call them my Village.
OK!: Who are the characters in your friend group, and is it changing in the second season?
KW: The core Village is eight characters, and there is Rodney, who is Joshua’s dad, then there is Wendell James, who is my Hollywood husband and Joshua’s Hollywood dad. And my girlfriends, we like to call them the Opinion, because they always have something to say about how I’m raising Joshua, and none of them have children. That is Val Chandler, and Samantha Williamson, and Stacey McLaine. Then we have my assistant Harold Bell, who’s always up to something and never following my instructions.
OK!: How did this become a reality show? I’d love to know the process.
KW: The process was basically, when you have everyone looking at you and keeps saying, ‘You have a baby?!’ It’s like I’m an enigma with this baby! At the time, my agent would shop it around, and OWN was excited about it. The OWN network is all about inspiring and enlightening. So I wanted to do that with the show to enlighten and inspire single moms to build their Village.
OK!: What is it like to be a part of the OWN Network? They’ve carving out such an interesting place with their reality TV. Do you get to go to board meetings with Oprah?
KW: [laughs] It’s been a great journey. I love the fact that they respect my life and respect my son. One thing, when you’re with OWN, you know they’re not going to do anything to make you uncomfortable or mess up your life. So I’m pretty free on my show. Sometimes I’ll do something, and my network exec will call me and say, ‘Um, Kym, we really don’t want to put that on TV.’ So you’re protected!
OK!: How is this season different from last season? What story are we going to see?
KW: What’s really different is that last season was only thirty minutes, and this season it’s an hour-long dramedy. We get to explore and expand on my Villagers. We’re going to see more of their lives. That’s number one. Number two is that baby daddy Rodney moves in, and he helps me co-parent this season. Those are two of the major events that happen.
OK!: Now that Joshua is a tiny bit older, is he more aware of the show? Has he watched himself?
KW: Our season premiere was on January 4, and this is the first time he is of the age to recognize himself on television. And he went crazy. Circles! ‘I’m on TV! I’m on TV!’ And he loves filming the show, because the crew has become part of the Village. He loves putting on his mike pack.
OK!: Do you watch any reality TV shows? Any Housewives or anything like that?
KW: Well, of course I watch Life with La Toya on OWN. I watch the Housewives, Atlanta Housewives. I know NeNe Leakes. You get into people’s lives. I think reality is here to stay. But I am a big fan of Downton Abbey! You have a bit of the haves and have nots. I’m into the servants and the bosses.
Have you ever seen Kym’s show? What’s your favorite kind of reality show? What do you think Oprah would be like as a boss? Tell us in the comments below or tweet us @OKMagazine.