*Industry insiders may claim Tyler Perry is responsible for “saving” Oprah Winfrey’s OWN Network with his four hit series, but Perry is refuting those claims – believing the success of the network is due to the power of Oprah herself.
Last year the network ordered additional episodes of Perry’s “The Haves and the Have Nots,” “If Loving You Is Wrong,” “Love Thy Neighbor” and “For Better or Worse.” The scripted series have been at the “heart of OWN’s rise to a top 25 cable network in primetime among women 25-54,” per Hollywood Reporter.
Perry said he wanted to “set the narrative straight” about his TV success during an OWN-hosted panel to promote season 4 of “The Haves and The Have Nots,” and season 5 of “Love Thy Neighbor.” He specifically addressed a recent cover story titled “The Brand Keeping Oprah in Business,” which pretty much credits him for resurrecting the network.
“It’s the power of Oprah that’s saved the network,” said Perry. “It’s the business sense of Oprah as a CEO to say [Tyler], come do this for my network. Yes, we have great ratings, but we’re not saving the network. Oprah herself has set that network on the right path, and she is the wind that is pushing it in the right direction.”
Perry also recalled how in his 20s he once watched an episode of “The Oprah Winfrey Show” where she talked about the “cathartic” power of writing.
“At this point I don’t know what cathartic means, so I go to the dictionary to find out,” he joked, adding that he began writing habitually after that. “Add 20-plus years to that and I have the opportunity to be on her network writing shows for her. I couldn’t even write a better story,” he said.
OWN had a rocky start in 2011, with many believing the network was doomed to fail. However, ratings have turned around due in large part to Perry’s shows.
“Oprah Winfrey’s partnership with Tyler Perry has been a tremendous success, garnering millions of viewers for OWN and setting ratings records,” OWN president Erik Logan said in a release announcing the orders of the four shows last year. “Tyler’s original series have quickly become appointment viewing for a passionate audience and OWN is pleased to deliver 87 new episodes.”
“The Haves and The Have Nots” airs Tuesdays at 9/8c, and “Love Thy Neighbor” airs Fridays at 9/8c.