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.

Shadow & Act sheds more light on the partnership:

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.”

What do you think of the Perry-Winfrey partnership? Is this a good move for Oprah’s network? 

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  • Downsouth Transplant

    @ whatIthink, the only shows I have watched is Super soul which I thought was ok not make time in my Sunday schedule kinda show, however watching Iyanla whatever her show’s name is, is like watching the paramedics arrive at a serious multi car wreck & skillfully extract the human-being who is barely still alive & and start emergency resuscitation, that gives hope they will make it. Sadly it is validation over & over again that i am one sane person comparatively (sad but true)

  • Blaque217

    I don’t know how I feel about this. On one hand, Oprah and Tyler are both very talented and successful Black people. For that, I admire them both.
    But it seems that Oprah never had a REAL interest in Black audiences before. Now, it seems as though she is trying to “blacken” up OWN in order to save it from itself. Is that exploitation or a smart business move? I can’t decide.
    But I will be waiting with bated breath to see what Tyler Perry brings to the table. His style doesn’t seem to be a good fit with the fabulous Ms. O…but maybe he will surprise us.

  • ZIGZAG

    Damn, no matter what good Oprah does there’s always some kind of criticism from some Black folks. She gave Iyanla Vanzanta a shot back in the days and Iyanla screwed that up, and now she gave her a second chance. Apparently that’s still not enough.

    She also gave the African-American lady from Carol’s daughter a platform, and that company is very succesful now, and employs people. Oprah contributed greatly to the election of Barack Obama; built a top quality school in Africa for African girls. That’s still not good enough for you!? SMH at some of you.

    Plus, who says everything in life has to be, pun intended, Black and White. At the end of the day, we’re all human. Don’t always be paranoid about skin color and try to pull the race card. With that mind state you’ll never get far in this world.

    You’re probably the same people who complain about how Obama hasn’t done enough for Black people… as though he was elected President of American Blacks.

    Oprah wouldn’t be a billionaire if she only catered to the black audience. With the wealth she’s accumulated she is able to contribute more productively to the overall African experience. Oprah is proud of her heritage, and she puts her money where her mouth. She doesn’t just talk the talk but she walks the walk.

    If you don’t like what Oprah and Tyler do, guess what you don’t have to watch. By the way, since you got it all figured out, why don’t you go and start a film production company and employ Black people. Oprah and Tyler don’t come from rich families but they made it, Barack HUSSEIN Obama succeeded againt the odds and became the President of the United States.

    • Marie Davis

      amen Zigzag. can’t please some confused people. Keep On Oprah and Tyler. I believe in and support you both.