Tyler Perry has entered an agreement with television giant Viacom to produce television, film, and short-form video for BET and other networks within the company.
Under the agreement, Perry, who is currently under an exclusive deal at OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network, will produce approximately 90 episodes annually of original drama and comedy series for BET, which caters primarily to African-American audiences, and other Viacom networks. Viacom will have exclusive licensing rights on the TV programming as well as exclusive distribution rights to Perry’s short-form video content. Additionally, the pact gives Paramount Pictures exclusive first-look rights on Perry’s feature film projects.
The TV pact is similar to Perry’s arrangement at OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network where he has been since 2012, helping to put the then-fledgling cable network on the original scripted series map with such series as The Haves And Have Nots, Love Thy Neighbor and For Better Or Worse. The film agreement is effective immediately, while the TV/short-form video one will kick in May 2019 when the OWN pact ends and will feature new series. Both parts of Perry’s Viacom deal will go through 2024.
“Today’s announcement represents an important step forward as Viacom continues to make swift progress against our new strategic plan,” said Bob Bakish, President and CEO of Viacom. “By prioritizing efforts to work with the best, most versatile talent in the entertainment industry, we are better positioned to deliver must-watch content across our brands and platforms. Tyler is a prolific creative force, and I’m excited that this collaboration will bring his signature humor and powerful storytelling to Viacom’s audiences while further cementing BET’s position as the leading home for bold, relevant African-American programming and scripted content.”
Perry’s programming already has presence on BET, which airs two of the sitcoms he had done for TBS, House Of Payne and Meet the Browns, in off-network syndication. Additionally, BET Pictures co-produced with Lionsgate Perry’s debut feature, Diary of a Mad Black Woman, based on his play, which launched his screen career and a very successful Madea feature franchise.
After a nine-year stint at Lionsgate, where he had a fist-look deal, Perry became a free agent on the feature side in 2014, taking his time in selecting his next distribution partner.“I am delighted that we are deepening our longstanding relationship with Tyler,”Debra L. Lee, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of BET Networks, said. “BET co-funded Tyler’s very first feature film, we’ve aired his movies and many of his series with great success on our networks, and we’ve honored his tremendous talent with our signature awards. This partnership will allow us to work even more closely with him and bring more of his iconic content to our viewers.”
“Viacom has a rich tradition of reaching my audience through their TV, film and digital platforms and I am excited to partner with them,” said Perry. “I am eager to have one home where I can leverage all of their assets to tell my stories to an even wider audience. I have been very blessed to have worked with the incredible people at Lionsgate and OWN over the last few years and I look forward to continuing my work with them on a non-exclusive basis.”
Congrats to Tyler!