Writer, director, producer, playwright and actor Tyler Perry has recently signed a long-term deal with Viacom that is certain to make the media conglomerate a stronger and more competitive television network for African-American programming. Industry experts say the move represents a huge loss to the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN).
The terms of the deal
The deal, which starts in 2019 and will run through 2024, requires Perry to produce 90 episodes per year of original drama and comedy series. The content will be aired on BET, and other Viacom networks (like MTV, VH1, and Comedy Central).
Given the success of Perry’s other scripted shows like The Have and Have Nots and If Loving You Is Wrong, along with his Madea movie series, the deal will increase Viacom’s audiences and strengthen BET’s position as the leading home for African-American programming and scripted shows.
BET is thrilled
Debra Lee, the long-time CEO of BET Networks, comments, “I am delighted that we are deepening our long-standing relationship with Tyler.”
She continues, “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. This partnership will allow us to work even more closely with him and bring more of his iconic content to our viewers.”
But Oprah isn’t out yet
But for now, Tyler Perry Studios still has contractual obligations to Oprah Winfrey’s OWN. His contract requires him to continue to produce television content for OWN through May 2019, with series airing on the network through 2020.
At the end of their exclusive relationship, OWN and Tyler Perry have the option to work together on a non-exclusive basis.
Tyler can’t lose
Over the last 20 years, Tyler Perry has generated billions of dollars in revenue from 7 original television series, 16 feature films and 20 plays. His films alone have grossed nearly $2 billion in revenue worldwide.