Tyler Perry, the most financially successful black film director and producer in history, is currently in talks with Lionsgate to develop his own cable channel, the New York Times reported Tuesday.
TylerTV, as the network is currently being called, would initially air reruns of Perry’s sitcoms and movies, including his popular Madea series that stars Perry cross dressing as the pistol-packing grandma Mable Simmons. They would also fill airtime with third-party content that matches Perry’s “Christianity-tinged brand,” according to the Times.
Oprah Winfrey, the woman who’s touch turns everything in to gold, has a huge cable network supporting her and she’s still had major ratings trouble with her OWN network, leaving many to wonder why Tyler Perry is getting into the cable channel game.
Lionsgate owns half of the TV-Guide channel, which is available in about 80 million homes, and one rumor has it that is that Perry would re-brand the channel with his content. That, and he could have a very specific marketing strategy because of his niche audience: African-American women who support his every venture.
Another avenue could involve bringing Comcast onboard. The company agreed to provide more of what they call “minority run” programming as part of a deal with federal regulators to green light their multibillion dollar acquisition of NBC Universal.
But while Perry has a large following, he still has critics who call his work brash, overly sentimental and deeply caricatured. Filmmaker Spike Lee has described Perry’s work as “coonery” and “buffoonery.”