It didn’t come as much of a surprise when Oprah partnered with Discovery to launch her very own cable network, OWN. But is fellow superstar Tyler Perry a big enough name to carry a network, too? Lionsgate seems to think so.
The movie studio is said to be in talks with Perry to launch a new venture tentatively called Perry TV, reports The New York Times. The channel will initially show reruns of Perry’s sitcoms and movies (including the Madea series), and would later branch out to buy third-party content that fits in with Perry’s brand.
A source told the Times that Perry and Lionsgate are considering three different distribution routes. They could rebrand the TV Guide channel (in which Lionsgate has a 50 percent stake), take over an existing small cable channel that works with Perry’s brand (for instance, the Gospel Broadcasting Network), or sign a deal with Comcast, which has committed to providing more minority-run programming.
One possible roadblock: Lionsgate already licenses Perry’s films to pay-TV network EPIX, which means that the movies would likely be delayed before airing on Perry TV.
Considering OWN's difficulties so far, launching another celebrity-branded network might not seem like a wise move for anyone. But according to the Times, Perry TV has a high possibility for success. While OWN seeks to appeal to a wide range of viewers, Perry has always focused on a much narrower audience: African-American women.
His fans, at any rate, have proven themselves more than willing to follow him across platforms, from stage performances to TV shows to movies—which have brought in more than $522 million at the box office.