Apparently undaunted by the low ratings over at his friend Oprah’s network, Tyler Perry is in talks with Lionsgate to launch a 24/7 cable platform.
Perry has earned over $500 million at the box office bringing audiences the Madea franchise, Why Did I Get Married?, For Colored Girls, and other successful projects that target his predominately black and Christian fanbase. A cable venture seems the logical next step for the mogul who already owns a 28-acre film studio with more than 300 employees.
Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer has not issued a formal statement, but is said to be in strong support of the proposed Tyler TV network. According to the New York Times, Perry and Lionsgate are reportedly exploring the possibility of rebranding the TV Guide Network, in which Lionsgate has a 50 percent stake. Another option open to them would be the purchase of a niche cable channel like the Gospel Broadcasting Network, or a partnership involving cable giant Comcast which recently agreed to provide more minority-run programming in order to gain the government approval they needed to take over NBC Universal.
Though Perry has drawn major criticism for his portrayal of African Americans in what some consider a demeaning light, others applaud his ability and willingness to bring projects to the screen that provide much-needed exposure and employment for black people in an industry that often excludes them. Either way, everything the man touches seems to turn to gold. In addition to his mega-successful films, Tyler has launched two television shows for TBS: “Tyler Perry’s House of Payne” and “Meet the Browns.” Tyler Perry’s House of Payne premiered on TBS in June 2007 and brought in 5.9 million viewers, the channel’s biggest sitcom audience ever. This fall Perry is slated to debut a new TBS series, “For Better or Worse,” based on his Why Did I Get Married? films.
If the cable network venture comes to life, Tyler TV programming would reflect Perry’s past and current successes by offering viewers reruns of his movies and sitcoms as well as new content that appeals to his established and growing audience. Perry haters and lovers will have to stay tuned to see how this new chapter in his already amazing career turns out.