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OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network Strikes Exclusive Content Partnership w/ Tyler Perry

by Natasha Greeves
October 1, 2012 1:12 PM
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Oprah Winfrey announced via press release a partnership between OWN Network and Tyler Perry to bring scripted series to the network. 

While many were wondering when OWN would debut a scripted series, I am not sure this is what we had in mind.  While Perry has had success with his series, I am not quite sure his previous content is aligned with Winfrey's brand.  One has to hope that Perry steps outside his box and provides content that is a bit more polished and challenging than what he has served up in the past.

I'm sure this news will cause much conversation and debate about whether its a positive move or a negative move for Winfrey's fledgling network.  Only time will tell, but until then check out the full release below for all the details:


Deal Marks Network’s First Move into Scripted Programming with Two New Series Created by Perry To Debut Mid 2013

Announcement Comes as OWN Continues Ratings Momentum,

Closing in on Third Consecutive Quarter of Double-Digit Growth

Los Angeles, CA – OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network announced today an exclusive partnership with Tyler Perry, the award winning actor, director, screenwriter, playwright and producer, to become his singular destination for all new television series and projects, including two new scripted series for the network to premiere in mid 2013. These will be the first original scripted series for OWN and Perry will executive produce, write and direct both series.

The announcement comes as OWN's momentum and ability to draw new viewers continues to grow. The network closed its third consecutive quarter of year-over-year, double-digit ratings gains across primetime and total day in the key women 25-54 demo (+63% and +70% respectively) and saw triple-digit ratings growth in September.

Perry’s popular television series “Tyler Perry’s House of Payne” Meet The Browns” and “For Better Or Worse” have been massive hits with record-breaking ratings. Perry had his first foray into television in 2007 with the hit series “House of Payne,” which premiered as cable’s biggest comedy debut ever. The series remained basic cable’s top-rated sitcom only until the premiere of Perry’s second series “Meet The Browns.

“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,” said Oprah Winfrey, CEO, OWN. “We are all energized by the opportunity to collaborate with Tyler who has a proven track record for producing highly successful cable series. He has an incredible ability to illuminate life stories and characters in his unique voice and inspires and encourages people all over the world.” 

"It's a dream realized to partner with Oprah and bring scripted programming to OWN,” stated Perry. "She has accomplished so much with the network and I'm excited to work with her to be a part of its continued growth."

“Bringing Tyler Perry exclusively to OWN is a major coup. Today’s announcement demonstrates the power of the Oprah brand to attract some of the biggest names in television and film to OWN,” said David Zaslav, president and CEO of Discovery Communications. “OWN’s growth over the past nine months has been nothing short of phenomenal and, with the continued support of our advertising and affiliate Partners, this bold move into scripted entertainment positions OWN to continue that momentum going forward.”

OWN’s flagship series “Oprah’s Next Chapter,” featuring Winfrey’s interviews with top news-making celebrities, has given the network its highest ratings ever, hitting #1 in its time period in all of cable multiple times. The fall premiere of the OWN original primetime series “Iyanla: Fix My Life” featuring life coach Iyanla Vanzant garnered the network’s highest rated series debut in network history and the return of the popular family docu-series “Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s” hit an all-time series high. In addition, the thought-provoking documentary series “Our America with Lisa Ling” recently wrapped its summer season posting triple-digit gains versus year ago numbers.

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  • Donella | October 3, 2012 5:41 PMReply

    Tyler Perry's a good move. Someone mentioned Issa Rae and that's a thought.Maybe Oprah should snatch up the multitude of Black-themed web series and put them on. Get 'em while they're hot and before they're contracted elsewhere.

  • Priss | October 3, 2012 1:54 PMReply

    Sends a good signal about what heights we can reach if we work together. I hope they both success with this venture.

  • bondgirl | October 3, 2012 11:30 AMReply

    Brilliant! Love to see my people working together, if possible.

  • JB | October 2, 2012 11:55 AMReply

    Don't see how anyone can hate on this deal. It's people of color making a joint power move. I won't be watching because it's not my taste, but I respect what their doing and the message it sends to the industry.

  • Orville | October 2, 2012 1:50 AMReply

    Isn't this a positive step forward for black entertainment? Don't people want to see black people working together for a common goal? First, Shonda and young Issa Rae and now Oprah and Tyler Perry. A lot of people including myself have complained about black people not having power in Hollywood and being able to change things. Now, we are seeing black people working together behind the scenes. I think this is a win win situation for all involved.

  • CareyCarey | October 2, 2012 12:14 AMReply

    " I am not quite sure his previous content is aligned with Winfrey's brand". What is that content and who cares? "One has to hope that Perry steps outside his box and provides content that is a bit more polished and challenging than what he has served up in the past". WHAT!? What exactly does that mean? Again, who cares whether or not the show is more polished (whatever that means), and who needs to be challenged? Y'all kill me with your hate on Tyler & Oprah, but you champion programs like the foul mouth (N-Word using) Awkward Black Chicks, Scandal and I Hate L.A. Dudes'. What the hell is going on? Here we have two of the most premiere minds in the business, yet y'all scrunch-up your faces like someone cut the cheese. You might not like Oprah's BFF Gail, but you can't deny the truth. Oprah has given voice to more intelligent and artistic people of color than ANY person ON THIS EARTH and hired several POC. That list numbers in the thousands. From black politicians , black authors, black musical geniuses, black business owners, heads of foreign states, prominent black lawyers, doctors, chief cooks and bottle washers, Oprah has been the driving force in exposing them to the world, which opens the door for more to follow. Oh, should I mention her unmatched effort to highlight the ever- present struggles of the black female? Not to mention her nearly 1/2 billion dollars she has given to the needy. So please, why is it when two of OUR OWN reach a place of comfort and success, so many POC hate them? I understand there's probably personal indifference's one may have with Oprah, but in no way does that diminish her accomplishments. Some folks are just too busy smelling their own upper lip. Damn, I get so tired of the same freaks come out at night as when Precious landed... "woe is we... Tyler and Oprah joining hands.. what dey gonna do to us dis time?". But I, CareyCarey, I'm still alive. I mean, I watched the movies Precious and Ray and For Colored Girls and Meet The Browns and The Paynes, and I am still here. That must make me a special kind of survivor - huh? I don't feel compelled to shoot heroin or rape my daughter, so I must be special? My white neighbors still wave at me as they pass by. I don't know what they are saying in their homes, nor do I care. However, some black folks make me shake my head.

  • Agent K | October 2, 2012 8:29 PM

    I appreciate the time Carey. I'm not sure if we even had a conversation ever but it was worth it. I'm somewhat the same way as you when watching films. I like horror films but hate slasher flicks myself but thats another story for another time. One more thing I find funny is the fact that people are willing to write books analyzing TP so called coonery. But I've talked enough on this. Thanks again Carey.

  • CareyCarey | October 2, 2012 7:53 PM

    Don't even think about it Agent K, you're not going too deep, you're showing signs of a wise thinker. In fact, if I had your hand I'd throw mine away. I mean, you said exactly what I could not articulate. I mean, some folks rag on TP for hours on end, but question them on the "quality", "significance" and "postive" images of the films you mentioned, you'd think you slapped their momma. And yes, I have said something about our propensity to "over-analyze" how we're portrayed in films, while whites (by and large) seldom, if ever go there. Granted, there are propaganda films hell bent on delivering an evil message. However, to this day, no one has produced a single movie (shown me a film) which would support their opinion that said film significantly changed the mindset of millions. Contrary to what many would have us believe, life's lessons, values and human behavior is not developed nor learned through one film. Besides, as you said Agent K, I know who I am so why worry about what someone else is thinking? Why should we really give a fat fu*k (excuse my language)? Btw, I watch ALL genre of film (except horror-slash & cut). I don't view them to learn a great truth, I do so for the experiences and the emotions they give me. Good conversation Agent K. Have we been here before?

  • Agent K | October 2, 2012 7:14 PM

    In short, I'm more ashamed at black people that call Tyler a nigga, a coon, buffoon, or niggerish just because he does what works for him that Tyler Perry himself.

  • Agent K | October 2, 2012 7:08 PM

    @CareyCarey I see it like this: I know who I am and I'm comfortable with that. So I can go from Lord of the Rings to a Madea film with no problem. You can spew bullshit towards Tyler Perry without hesitation but if you even throw softballs towards Scandal, ABG, or TLAM you have no taste. Ain't that a bitch (excuse my language)? I might be lookin in to deep but Frantz Fanon's "Black Skin, White Masks" comes to mind. Nothing is really new in the black experience it's just a rehash of something else already out. I'm not sure if you said this but it was to the effect that white people don't really care how they are portraited in cinema or television no matter if it's a "negative" role. I don't hear white people calling Adam Sandler films honky shit or hymie shit. Why do we care so badly how white people see us which is really the issue we have. Sorry if it feels long I just love having these conversations with different people.

  • CareyCarey | October 2, 2012 6:14 PM

    Agent K, I am glad you understand (and had the courage to speak on it). Yes, it's always about "whose lens do you look through" re: Stereotypical. Now we're back to Malcolm Woodard's other article Cinema's Dilemma - A Lack Of Ideas Or "Narrative Exhaustion? Think about it, what's REALLY new in the black experience? I am suggesting that the word "stereotypical" is frequently misunderstood and misused. Is ABG a stereotypical image of black folks? Was Think Like A Man a stereotypical image of the behavior of many black men and women? However, as you pointed out, depending on whose lens (whose eyes) we're looking through, some of us go right here-->"I'm not one of those niggers". Having said that, I think it's fitting that I leave a comment from TRACI R. | FEBRUARY 26, 2012 3:08 AM
    "Yeah I think I like Tyler Perry's life narrative much more than I actually like him (his public persona) and his art (filmmaking at least, his plays I dig shamelessly). I also take the side of Laura on the notion of calling his work "coonery." Quite honestly, I've never understood how that term ever applies to describing black humor for a predominantly BLACK audience. Many are ASHAMED of what we as black folk find funny because its so "VULGAR" and "LOW BROW." Eff that. I quite admire fanatical TP followers whose logic about why they like him steers far away from the intellectual pontification that "critical" film watchers give to describe and defend their film choices (i.e. present a case that shows that their tastes are less shame-inducing than the taste of others) [The lens they look through]. It's called taste for a reason--my flavor ain't always your flavor--and I'm not about to sit up here and defend why I like salty and not sweet."

  • Agent K | October 2, 2012 11:21 AM

    I guess it harkens back to Malcolm Woodard's article where he asks which lens do you look through for quality in "black" films or something to that effect. I'm gonna be honest, I was one of those people to bash Tyler Perry, but I realized I haven't really given him a chance and so I did. All I can say is there is much worse out there in film period Tyler is not even close. Some make the argument his stuff is stereotypical but what about ABG (which I can't say much about since I haven't watched an episode)? I guess I can't give ABG a chance yet because the title itself gives me that "I'm not one of those niggers" vibe. I may not watch TP as much as the next person but he's not a bad guy or self-hater or coon or buffoon or nigger/nigga. And as far as I'm concerned TP hasn't used the word nigga at all.

  • ALM | October 2, 2012 12:13 AMReply

    Uh oh, this post is probably going to 100 comments or more......

  • ALM | October 2, 2012 12:11 AMReply

    So does this mean his network is dead in the water? If so, why is his network dead in the water?

  • Adam Scott Thompson | October 2, 2012 12:04 AMReply


  • Jeremy Jones | October 1, 2012 11:08 PMReply

    Could be BIG!

  • D.C. Kirkwood | October 1, 2012 9:53 PMReply

    Well you knew it was bound to happen sooner or later. Congrats to both of them. You have to respect the fact that they are both very successful in their respective fields. I'll admint I don't like everything that either one of them puts out. However, I think that it important that they continue to be players in the Hollywood game. We have to understand that the viewing audience for TV and movies are very scattered. This makes it even harder when trying to create and maintain programming for African Americans. We are going to have to join forces if we intend to survive in the long run.JMO

  • Ghost | October 1, 2012 10:04 PM

    How can we join forces when we can't even agree on VARIETY? We act like we have to ACCEPT Tyler's stuff, along with Basketball spermbanks and ANYTHING on BET. Yet we reject anything that shows us in a different light. We are more than thugs, rappers, spermbanks and losers-yet we got a line of folks that will defend them instead of accepting that we can be doctors, MARRIED with kids, FAITHFUL to our love ones and everything else.

  • JMac | October 1, 2012 9:32 PMReply

    I thought TP was launching his own network. Is there going to be some kind of episode/show trade between the two?

  • Nicole | October 1, 2012 7:58 PMReply

    Love Tyler or hate him, he has a large and LOYAL fan base. VERY LOYAL. They will follow his work anywhere. Oprah knows this. She needs ratings and a dedicated viewing audience. BADLY!!! And Tyler's tv shows/movies are cost efficient. She knows she can get the audience she needs at the lowest cost. Low cost/high revenue. Oprah knows what she's doing.

  • sandra | October 1, 2012 7:34 PMReply

    To continue on what I said earlier, I see right through Oprah. Get ready y'all...Oprah's Next Chapter: Exclusive Madea Interview; COPs/America's Most Wanted knockoff show hosted by Madea. Grits & Biscuits - Cookin with Madea, Madea reality show, Waking Up with Madea (morning show), OWN presents Masterpiece theatre-type show hosted by Madea (broadcasting Precious and the Color Purple and various black pain classics) and for your late-night viewing pleasure: Between the Sheets...with Madea - receive the latest news on techniques and gadgets to spice up your sex life.

  • Carey | October 4, 2012 12:20 AM

    Sandra, I have to give it to you, your comment was VERY creative. Yep, I loved it. If you're not a sitcom writer, you should seriously consider a career change. I'm serious... I'm thinking something like a gag writer for a late night show. You got something.

  • ALM | October 2, 2012 12:14 AM

    @ Sandra: You are dead wrong for the "Between the Sheets" concept. LOL!!!

  • Orville | October 1, 2012 6:53 PMReply

    Well since Tyler is going to work with Oprah I hope this new scripted series has a bit more depth to it. I saw Meet the Browns and the other show with Tasha Smith and I was not impressed.

    Oprah obviously wants to reach the black audience well it took her long enough to get a clue.

  • Ghost | October 1, 2012 9:59 PM

    I doubt she got a clue. I see this as Tyler gets x number of hours for his stuff and Oprah will continue to look for others to add to this network. She didn't get to the top relying on black folks. She will find a way to get white women watching too. Don't be shocked if she starts collecting all these shows that get axed that attract women as other networks drop them.

  • kirk | October 1, 2012 5:26 PMReply

    Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh lorddddddddddddds! You need to stop that talk never know what quality programs Tyler be workins on.

  • K | October 1, 2012 4:40 PMReply

    This is great news. Can't wait to see what they have in store. I think there are so many black actors who need to have their own shows right now, that I can't wait to see how this goes.

  • sandra | October 1, 2012 3:52 PMReply

    Oprah needs the eyeballs by ANY MEANS NECESSARY! Quality be damned! This is a desperate move. She is using the same WB/UPN/FOX tactics to build a viewership: START BLACK then GET THE HELL BACK (resume catering exclusively to Middle America) once established. I can see it now...A game show hosted by Madea in which contestants quote scripture. Expect Madea to break out the dance moves when you get the wrong answer.

  • Ava | October 1, 2012 5:08 PM

    LOL. That game show-- what a truly frightening image!

  • Vann Digital Networks | October 1, 2012 3:46 PMReply

    i see Oprah done got thirsty for eyeballs

  • Fresh | October 1, 2012 3:39 PMReply

    Can't wait for the new series "Madea Starts a Business"

  • Skrim | October 1, 2012 3:32 PMReply

    His work is absolutely NOT aligned with her brand. Human growth and spirituality is not synonymous with barely entertaining sitcoms and movies. I can only imagine that they still connect on the need to present Black women in pornographic levels of suffering. Furthermore, O can't afford to align with someone incapable of appeasing a broad audience. With Iyanla & Sweetie Pie's being the big draws, OWN could very easily be regarded as a kinder, gentler BET if this trend continues. And what ever happened to the disabled guy who won the contest to have a show on the network? Did any episodes air?

  • ALM | October 2, 2012 12:11 AM

    @ Skrim: You're right. I forgot about him. What did happen to the contest winner?

  • Marie | October 1, 2012 2:56 PMReply

    I think Winfrey could've done better. She's in a singular position to provide opportunities to the talented and numerous black, female, etc. points of view out there. She's in a great position to take a CHANCE. Instead she chooses the safe route and goes with someone who's established but limited (downtrodden/abused/damaged women; working class vs. bougie; with some violence and salvation-through-Jesus thrown in.) ALL of his work has the SAME elements. The audience is ready and eager for something else.

  • NO BRAINER | October 1, 2012 10:07 PM

    Uh-oh. MARIE said the "C" word. Watch all of the industry people run in the opposite direction, like a vampire to a crucifix, or Superman to Kryptonite.

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