(L-R) Executive Producer Craig Piligian and TV personalities Robbie Montgomery, Tim Norman, Jenae Wallick and Charles Crenchaw speak at the OWN panel during the Discover Networks portion of the 2012 Television Critics Association Press Tour at The Langham Huntington Hotel and Spa on Jan. 13, 2012 in Pasadena

*The stars of OWN’s breakout hit “Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s” say they can’t go anywhere anymore without someone approaching them about the show.

“The biggest difference now is that people recognize us,” star “Miss Robbie” Montgomery told TV critics in Pasadena, Calif. Thursday. “We go every place and they tell me how much they love me, they love my family, they see our struggles and they can relate to us.”

Miss Robbie joined her nephew “Lil’ Charles” Crenshaw, son Tim Norman, his girlfriend Jenae Wallick and executive producer Craig Piligian at the TCA Winter Press Tour on Friday, and quickly reminded everyone what sets them apart from other reality shows.

“We actually work in our business,” said Miss Robbie. “We’re not just TV personalities. We actually work and are employed by Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s.”

“Well, most of us work,” quipped Charles.

While Charles may slack off in the restaurant from time to time, the series itself is working big time for the struggling OWN. In November, Oprah’s network announced it had ordered a second season of the series on the heels of its sweet ratings success.  More than 6.1 million viewers have watched the show since the Oct. 15 premiere.  It is OWN’s highest rated program in the key female 25-54 demo, and it ranked No. 2 in its time period among African-American women aged 25-54. And to boot, 40 percent of the show’s viewers are non-African American.

Miss Robbie at Sweetie Pie's on July 17, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri.

Season 1 saw a number of subplots along with the steady appetite of soul food, including Miss Robbie trying, then, eventually scoring a loan for her third restaurant, various relationship and pregnancy issues with Tim and Jenae, and the unpredictable world of Lil Charles.

As for season 2, which begins in March, Piligian says we’ll see a lot more of the Tim and Jenae roller coaster, and he’s hoping to “see a marriage” take place between the two.

“There might be,” Jenae teased.


After noting Miss Robbie’s struggle to secure a loan during the first season, Piligian said, “In season 2, at the end you’ll see a grand opening of their new restaurant.”

Viewers of the series already know how touch-and-go things were after the premature birth of Tim and Jenae’s son T.J.  The little one was born 13 weeks early and had to remain in the hospital for monitoring.

“In season 2, you guys are going to be able to see his progression,” said Jenae. “He’s been home now for around a month-and-a-half, and he’s doing fantastic, so we’re excited to share that with you guys. You’ll be able to see where he’s going development-wise, and you guys will be able to see Tim and I adjust to being new parents.

Tim added proudly that he’s changed three diapers so far.

He says that, Jenae says one,” Miss Robbie chimed in.

Below, Jenae fights emotion while giving us more details about T.J.’s health.

Jenae of Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s on son TJ’s health by CherieNic