Ever since word that Oprah Winfrey’s network, OWN, was struggling to gain and retain viewers spread throughout media outlets earlier this year, Ms. Winfrey has been on a mission to turn things around.
In addition to taking her wildly popular show LifeClass on the road, Ms. O has made a more concerted effort to grace the airwaves more often, getting viewers hooked on her Next Chapter interviews and Super Soul Sunday efforts. The results? The network posted double-digit growth in the last quarter.
Despite starting out featuring shows with non-black hosts and cast members, OWN’s most popular draws, Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s, Next Chapter, and Iyanla, Fix My Life, are helmed by black women.
Now, it seems Oprah is ready to take her network to the next level: adding scripted programming.
According to a press release by the network, OWN has entered into a multi-year partnership with Tyler Perry to produce scripted content for the network. Although it’s difficult to see how Perry’s previous sitcoms House of Payne, Meet the Browns, and For Better or Worse would fit OWN’s inspirational vision, Winfrey seems confident that he’ll create a show that will work for her audience.
OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network announced today 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 OWN‘s momentum and ability to draw new viewers continues to grow. 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 (+63% and +70% respectively) and saw triple-digit ratings growth in September.
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.”