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Tyler Perry's OWN deal ends plans for his own cable channel

October 01, 2012|By Joe Flint
  • Tyler Perry and Oprah Winfrey are partners.
Tyler Perry and Oprah Winfrey are partners. (OWN )

Tyler Perry's new exclusive deal to create programming for Oprah Winfrey's OWN means he is shelving his ambitions to launch his own cable network.

Perry had been toying with the idea of creating his own network and even had talks with Lionsgate and One Equity Partners, the co-owners of the TV Guide Channel. The plan under discussion would have had TV Guide becoming a platform for Perry and there was even a name — Tyler TV — being floated.

However, that plan is now off the table, people close to the matter said. Ultimately, Perry determined the less risky strategy was to sign a production deal with Winfrey's OWN, which is co-owned by Discovery Communications. While OWN has struggled since its launch in January 2011, its audience reach and subscriber revenue are growing and its ratings have shown some improvement.

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Overhauling TV Guide Channel would have been a challenge both creatively and financially. The channel has a programming guide that eats up a big chunk of its screen that is contractually required with many distributors. If the guide is removed and the channel rebranded, pay-TV distributors would have the right to renegotiate their carriage agreements.

Perry has agreed to create two original scripted series for OWN to debut in 2013. He currently has three shows on TBS"House of Payne," "Meet the Browns" and "For Better or Worse."

OWN will own the shows Perry produces for the channel. Winfrey and Perry served as executive producers on 2009's critically acclaimed movie "Precious," and Winfrey went out of her way to champion the gripping drama about an abused teenage girl in Harlem.

Perry still has a movie relationship with Lionsgate, which released "Precious," but neither the production company or its TV distribution unit Debmar-Mercury are involved in the OWN-Perry partnership.


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