Viacom says it has signed an exclusive partnership with prolific producer and actor Tyler Perry that will include television, film and short-form content.
Perry will begin working with Viacom on TV projects when his agreement with Oprah Winfrey’s OWN expires in 2019. OWN is a joint venture with Discovery and Perry also produces a show for Discovery’s TLC.
Under the agreement, Perry will produce about 90 episodes annually of original drama and comedy series for BET and other Viacom networks. Viacom will have exclusive licensing rights to this programming.
Viacom will also have distribution rights to Perry’s short-form content.
The film portion of the Viacom’s agreement with Perry goes into effect immediately. Viacom’s Paramount Pictures will have exclusive first look rights for any feature film concepts from Perry.
Financial terms were not disclosed.
“Today’s announcement represents an important step forward as Viacom continues to make swift progress against our new strategic plan. By prioritizing efforts to work with the best, most versatile talent in the entertainment industry, we are better positioned to deliver must-watch content across our brands and platforms,” said Viacom CEO Bob Bakish.
“Tyler is a prolific creative force, and I’m excited that this collaboration will bring his signature humor and powerful storytelling to Viacom’s audiences while further cementing BET’s position as the leading home for bold, relevant African-American programming and scripted content,” Bakish said.
Under Bakish's predecessor, Viacom suffered from a talent drain as Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Samantha Bee and others left the company.
"Viacom has a rich tradition of reaching my audience through their TV, film and digital platforms and I am excited to partner with them,” said Perry. “I am eager to have one home where I can leverage all of their assets to tell my stories to an even wider audience. I have been very blessed to have worked with the incredible people at Lionsgate and OWN over the last few years and I look forward to continuing my work with them on a non-exclusive basis.”
Perry’s TV series have included Tyler Perry’s House of Payne, Meet the Browns, Love Thy Neighbor and The Haves and the Have Nots.
“I am delighted that we are deepening our longstanding relationship with Tyler,” said BET CEO Debra Lee. “BET co-funded Tyler’s very first feature film, we’ve aired his movies and many of his series with great success on our networks, and we’ve honored his tremendous talent with our signature awards. This partnership will allow us to work even more closely with him and bring more of his iconic content to our viewers.”