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.
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.