Following in the footsteps of Oprah Winfrey, who is trying to make a go of it with her cable network OWN, another star has been quietly working on a plan to launch his own cable net, The New York Times reports.
Tyler Perry will be the basis for a new cable network backed by Lionsgate, which is betting that his fan base will follow him, the story reports.
While Winfrey, who is a supporter of Perry’s, has a broad demographic audience, Perry has focused on African-American women, who have a tendency to follow him across mediums, the story says. His TBS comedies "House of Payne" and "Meet the Browns" have performed well in the ratings, while his stage shows sell out quickly, the piece notes. His films have brought in more than $522 million at the box office.
The cable network will start out by scheduling reruns of Perry’s sitcoms and movies, including the Madea series, in which he portrays a gun-slinging grandmother. The network will also buy third-party content that fits in with Perry’s material. The network has the working title Tyler TV.
Lionsgate is considering several distribution options, including rebranding all or part of TV Guide Network; buying a small cable channel; or involving Comcast, which has committed to providing more minority-run programming, the story says.