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Filmmaker Tyler Perry has signed a multiyear deal with Oprah Winfrey’s OWN cable network. The first projects he will work on for the network are two comedies, which will be the network’s first scripted programs. The deal also likely puts an end to Perry’s plans for his own cable network.
Perry will write, direct and executive produce both shows, which will air in mid-2013, reports Bloomberg News.
“I have been looking forward to the day when we would be in the position to enter the world of scripted television,” Winfrey said in a statement. “That day has come.”
According to HitFix, Perry added, “It's a dream realized to partner with Oprah and bring scripted programming to OWN. She has accomplished so much with the network and I'm excited to work with her to be a part of its continued growth.”
Perry’s previous TV work includes the hit TBS shows Tyler Perry’s House of Payne, Meet The Browns and For Better Or Worse. His last film was this summer’s Tyler Perry's Madea's Witness Protection, which made $65 million domestically. His next project is Alex Cross, which was directed by Rob Cohen and hits theaters on Oct. 19.
Sources for The Los Angeles Times say that Perry may have been planning his own cable channel at one point, but the new deal likely ends those dreams. He and Lionsgate were in talks with the co-owners of the TV Guide Channel to restructure that channel as Tyler TV. However, he ultimately decided that signing with OWN was a much less risky venture.
OWN’s ratings have steadily been climbing after stumbling in 2011. The deal with Perry could keep that momentum going.