Oprah Winfrey is calling on her friend Tyler Perry for a little help with her cable network OWN.
Perry, the filmmaker and entrepreneur best known for his madcap comic character Madea, has entered an exclusive partnership with OWN to make the network his “singular destination for all new television series and projects.” That includes two new scripted series on track to premiere in mid 2013.
Perry’s series will be OWN’s first step into the scripted world, and the deal comes at a time when the struggling network is on a ratings upswing. “Oprah’s Next Chapter” has been a solid performer since its debut, garnering especially big numbers for high profile interviews with Rihanna in her home country of Barbados and the family of late singer Whitney Houston. Original series “Iyanla: Fix My Life” featuring life coach Iyanla Vanzant recently posted OWN’s best ever ratings for a series debut, and continuing reality show “Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s” hit series highs in Season 2.
“I have been looking forward to the day when we would be in the position to enter the world of scripted television,” Winfrey says in a statement. “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,” Perry adds. “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 original TV series — “House of Payne,” “Meet the Browns” and “For Better or Worse” — aired on TBS.
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