Tyler Perry is setting up shop in a big way with Viacom, cutting a wide-ranging content pact that establishes a first-look deal with Paramount Pictures and calls for him to produce series for BET and other Viacom cablers.
The film deal takes effect immediately. The TV deal will begin in May 2019 after Perry’s current pact with Oprah Winfrey’s OWN cabler expires. On the film side, the prolific producer has long been associated with Lionsgate.
“Viacom has a rich tradition of reaching my audience through their TV, film and digital platforms and I am excited to partner with them,” Perry said. “I am eager to have one home where I can leverage all of their assets to tell my stories to an even wider audience. I have been very blessed to have worked with the incredible people at Lionsgate and OWN over the last few years and I look forward to continuing my work with them on a non-exclusive basis.”
The five-year TV deal calls for Perry to deliver some 90 episodes of comedy and drama series a year. Viacom will also distribute short-form content from Perry, who has a sizable production operation based in Atlanta. Perry’s primetime series for OWN, including “The Haves and Have Nots” and “If Loving You Is Wrong,” have been instrumental during the past four years in turning around the fortunes of Winfrey’s cable venture with Discovery Communications.
Viacom CEO Bob Bakish said the arrangement with Perry was part of his larger campaign to revitalize Paramount and Viacom’s cablers by investing in content and top talent.
“Today’s announcement represents an important step forward as Viacom continues to make swift progress against our new strategic plan. By prioritizing efforts to work with the best, most versatile talent in the entertainment industry, we are better positioned to deliver must-watch content across our brands and platforms,” Bakish said. “Tyler is a prolific creative force, and I’m excited that this collaboration will bring his signature humor and powerful storytelling to Viacom’s audiences while further cementing BET’s position as the leading home for bold, relevant African-American programming and scripted content.”
BET chairman-CEO Debra Lee noted that the cabler has a long history with Perry, having helped to fund his first feature, 2005’s “Diary of a Mad Black Woman.”
“This partnership will allow us to work even more closely with him and bring more of his iconic content to our viewers,” Lee said.
Perry has three more films set for release through Lionsgate. “Tyler Perry’s Boo 2: A Madea Halloween” arrives on Oct. 20. In 2018, “She’s Living My Life,” toplined by Taraji P. Henson, is set for March 30 while “Family Funeral” premieres Aug. 3.
OWN has a new Perry-produced series, “The Paynes,” arriving next year with a 38-episode order.
“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,” OWN said in a statement. “OWN has had great success in the scripted space with Tyler Perry and with its new original dramas ‘Queen Sugar’ and ‘Greenleaf.’ The network will continue to aggressively expand its roster of premium original scripted series.”