×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

OWN, Tyler Perry ink exclusive pact

Two new shows set to debut on net in mid-2013

Tyler Perry’s transition from TBS to OWN is as significant for him as it is for Oprah Winfrey’s cabler.

For Perry, he’ll have a chance to launch two new series set to debut in mid-2013. While not committed to star, he will exec produce, write and direct. OWN has committed to ordering the shows without going through the pilot process.

OWN did not disclose an episode order but it will likely be in the usual 10-13 range for cable scripted fare rather than the mega 100-episode orders that Perry has become accustomed to in working with TBS and syndie distributor Debmar-Mercury.

Perry and Winfrey have had a long relationship dating back to her days when talkshow “Oprah” was the dominant force in daytime. Discussions between the two began several months ago.

“Bringing Tyler Perry exclusively to OWN is a major coup,” said Discovery Communications president-CEO David Zaslav. “This demonstrates the power of the Oprah brand to attract some of the biggest names in television and film to OWN.”

Added Winfrey: “I have been looking forward to the day when we would be in the position to enter the world of scripted television. That day has come. We are all energized by the opportunity to collaborate with Tyler, who has a proven track record for producing highly successful cable series.”

Perry’s decision to pact with OWN indicates that his efforts to pursue the launch of his own cable net have been tabled, at least for now. He had been quietly pursuing possible acquisitions of existing channels last year in partnership with Lionsgate, which distributes Perry’s feature films. There was also talk that Perry might take over some or all of Lionsgate-owned TV Guide Network.

Winfrey’s struggles with OWN during its first 18 months has served as a cautionary tale illustrating how hard it is to build a network around a single entity, even one as prosperous as Winfrey or Perry.

Perry has fielded three series for TBS since 2007: “House of Payne,” “Meet the Browns” and “For Better or Worse.” He pioneered the so-called 10/90 distribution model with Debmar-Mercury in which the production of 100 episodes is accelerated if a test run of 10 episodes fares well, with the goal of getting to off-network syndication more quickly than the typical series. (At present Debmar-Mercury is not involved with the OWN series.)

In the end, Perry’s personal relationship with Winfrey and her cabler’s new ratings momentum — its third quarter numbers were up by double digits in viewers and key demos — convinced the hyphenate to plant his flag at OWN, Winfrey’s joint venture with Discovery.

“When you look at our ability going forward, scripted gives OWN a new type of storytelling for the brand, and it’s the right first step in that direction. It’s an indication of more things to come,” OWN co-prexy Erik Logan told Variety.

The racial breakdown of OWN’s audience is about 33% African-American and 33% Caucasian. Perry’s draw among African-American viewers should help the cabler gain more traction with black auds, as it has with such recent unscripted successes as “Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s.”

Discovery believes the current optimism surrounding OWN will result in more ad buys and higher revenues. The cost for scripted fare is much higher than for reality, but OWN execs believe the net can afford to shoulder those costs now.

Although both Perry series are scheduled to begin in 2013, the network wouldn’t divulge any information about their storylines. Net will have to move quickly in getting the shows into production. Each series is set to shoot at the studio facility that is part of Perry’s Atlanta headquarters.

“We’re looking at this with our eyes wide open,” Logan said. “With Tyler and Oprah collaborating, we think this can be special.”

More TV

  • Ariana Grande Olivia Munn Michael Che

    Celebrities vs. Critics: Why This Battle Has No Winners (Column)

    When actor Olivia Munn tweeted a “short essay on…ugly behaviors” late Wednesday night, she insisted that a blog had been unfairly maligning her for years. She wrote that she wanted to confront the idea that baseless critiques, particularly those aimed at women, are never okay no matter how famous the target may be. On the [...]

  • ‘Peaky Blinders’ Virtual Reality Game in

    ‘Peaky Blinders’ Virtual Reality Game Will Pitch Players Into the Action

    “Peaky Blinders” fans will be able to join the gang – virtually – in a new VR game that will allow players to interact with characters from the hit series. Start-up immersive studio Maze Theory teamed with the show’s producers and is making the game, which will launch in 2020. Artificial intelligence technology means characters [...]

  • TV News Roundup: HBO's 'Deadwood: The

    TV News Roundup: HBO Releases 'Deadwood: The Movie' Trailer

    In today’s TV news roundup, HBO released the trailer for the “Deadwood” film, and CNN announced a premiere date for “Apollo 11.”  DATES The documentary “Apollo 11” from director/producer Todd Douglas Miller will premiere on CNN Sunday, June 23 at 9 p.m. Using only archival sources, the film captures NASA’s 1969 Apollo 11 mission. FIRST [...]

  • shannon ryan

    Shannon Ryan Joins Disney TV, ABC as Marketing Chief

    Former Fox Television chief marketing officer Shannon Ryan has been tapped as the new president of marketing for ABC Entertainment and Disney Television Studios. The announcement was made by Karey Burke, president of ABC Entertainment, and Craig Hunegs, president of Disney Television Studios, to whom she will report. Rumours had been circling for a while [...]

  • Dan Lin's Rideback, MRC Announce Writers

    Dan Lin's Rideback, MRC Announce First Class of Writers and Mentors for TV Incubator

    Rideback, Dan Lin’s production company, and MRC have announced the inaugural class of writers and mentors for their TV incubator.  The new TV writers residency program, which was launched in February, offers a paid, eight-month residency program to a group of writers who have each previously been staffed on series and want to create their [...]

  • CBS Viacom

    CBS and Viacom Move Closer to Merger Talks

    The CBS Corp. board of directors is moving closer to initiating acquisition discussions with Viacom, according to multiple sources close to the situation. The move has been expected for months, although there may still be obstacles on the road to a reunion for the two sides of the Redstone media empire. Price could still be [...]

  • Santa Fe Studios Netflix

    Santa Fe Studios Competes With Other New Mexico Stages for Streaming Business

    Albuquerque Studios entered the spotlight last October when it was purchased by Netflix. While the complex is clearly the jewel in the crown of New Mexico’s production infrastructure, with eight soundstages totaling 132,000 square feet, 100,000 square feet of production offices, a large backlot and support space, it’s not the only modern studio facility in [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content