Tell Him Boy Bye! Does Tyler Perry’s Deal With Viacom Mean He’s Done With OWN?
You may recall in the days long before Queen Sugar and the Hershey Kiss better known as Kofi Siriboe, Oprah’s OWN network was having a hard time. The network’s knight in shining armor came in the form of writer, actor, director Tyler Perry signing on to create exclusive content in the form of scripted series for the channel. Shows like The Haves and Have Nots and Love Thy Neighbor turned OWN’s weak ratings and program missteps completely around.
After a few years into this dynamic duo’s progress, it appears that Perry is spreading his wings. The Los Angeles Times reports that the entertainment mogul recently entered into a comprehensive, multi-year content partnership with Viacom Inc., the parent company of BET, Comedy Central and a number of other networks. With this deal, viewers will get to see Perry’s work every time they reach for the remote as he’ll produce approximately 90 episodes annually of original drama and comedy series for BET and other Viacom networks to which Viacom will possess exclusive licensing rights to. In addition Viacom will have exclusive distribution rights to the “Madea” creator’s short-form video content also granting Paramount Films “first look” rights on any of Perry’s new feature films material. The deal goes into effect in May 2019, following the expiration of Perry’s contract with OWN, and will extend until 2024.
But does this mean that all isn’t well in the Harpo household? A statement from OWN maintains that the network will continue a working relationship with Perry and that the Viacom deal doesn’t reflect any disputes between Perry and OWN:
“OWN has an exclusive overall television production deal with Tyler Perry that runs through May of 2019 with series airing on the network through 2020. At the end of the exclusive relationship, OWN and Tyler Perry have the option to work together on a non-exclusive basis.”
And as far as this new venture, Perry shares that he’s looking forward to reaching new audiences:
“Viacom has a rich tradition of reaching my audience through their TV, film and digital platforms and I am excited to partner with them. I am eager to have one home where I can leverage all of their assets to tell my stories to an even wider audience.”
And of course, BET is welcoming the “Why Did Get Married” wonder boy with open arms. In a statement, Debra L. Lee, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of BET Networks, shared:
“I am delighted that we are deepening our longstanding relationship with Tyler. BET co-funded Tyler’s very first feature film, we’ve aired his movies and many of his series with great success on our networks, and we’ve honored his tremendous talent with our signature awards.”
It appears that Perry’s newly purchased land will be getting plenty of good use. The deal comes about a year after Perry acquired a 330-acre historic U.S. Army base in Atlanta, Ga. that is the headquarters for his Tyler Perry Studios, the site for his films and TV series.