Tyler Perry and his Perry Foundation will be honored by the Television Academy as the recipient of this year’s Governors Award, which will be handed out during the Primetime Emmys televised event on Sunday, Sept. 20.
Perry is the first individual to receive the Governors Award since 2014; last year, the Academy opted not to give out the honor at all. (In 2018, the award went to the “Star Trek” franchise.) The Governors Award, first handed out in 1978, goes to individuals, projects or organizations ” for outstanding achievement in the arts and sciences or management of television which is either of a cumulative nature or so extraordinary and universal in nature as to go beyond the scope of the Emmy Awards presented in the categories and areas of the competition.”
According to the org, Perry was chosen “for his unprecedented achievements in television and his commitment to offering opportunities to marginalized communities through personal and The Perry Foundation programs of inclusion, engagement, employment and other philanthropic initiatives.”
Perry’s credits include 22 feature films, 13 TV series and more than 20 stage plays. His Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta has made headlines recently for becoming among the first facilities to resume production on series after the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown, via his “Camp Quarantine” approach.
“I’m grateful for and humbled by this recognition from the Television Academy,” said Perry. “I’ve always prided myself on the work we do at the studio, our diverse representation of people from all walks of life, and the community we’ve built. My hope is that through moments like this we can remind others of the power of ownership and show that when the world doesn’t offer you a seat at the table, you can build your own.”
Governors Award selection committee chair Eva Basler said Perry was chosen for having “changed the face of television and inspired a new generation of content creators. He pioneered a new brand of storytelling that engages people of color both in front of and behind the camera, and his shows have resonated with a global audience.”
Added committee vice chair Debra Curtis: “Tyler’s influence has extended far beyond the screen. His commitment to a broad range of philanthropic causes has had a profound impact on underserved communities around the world.”
According to the Academy, Perry’s charitable donations have included organizations focused on the homeless including Global Medical Relief Fund, Charity Water, Feeding America, Covenant House, Hosea Feed the Hungry, Project Adventure and Perry Place. Recently he paid for private plane travel for George Floyd’s family to attend his funerals and covered funeral expenses for Atlanta’s Rayshard Brooks and Secoria Turner.
CBS founder William S. Paley was given the first Governors Award in 1978, followed by Walter Cronkite and Johnny Carson. Other individuals receiving the honor include “Today” creator Sylvester “Pat” Weaver, Bob Hope, Alistair Cooke, Red Skelton, Grant Tinker, Lucille Ball, Ted Turner, Jerry Lewis, Sheila Nevins and John Walsh.
“American Idol,” National Geographic and MTV have all received the award twice for different initiatives, while History, Hallmark Cards, Showtime, CNN, Lifetime, Viacom, A&E, USA and other outlets have also been given the honor. In 2002, ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox shared the award for broadcasting “America: A Tribute to Heroes.”
The Primetime Emmy Awards will be held virtually, with host Jimmy Kimmel, on ABC this Sept. 20.