October 11, 2012
LAWT Wire Service
OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network announced 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 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 (+63percent and +70 percent respectively) and saw triple-digit ratings growth in September.
OWN network officials have said that they felt targeting an underserved African-American audience may be the best opportunity for the network to sustain growth. OWN has produced ratings winners with “Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s” and interview specials with artist Rihanna.
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 No. 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.