*Tyler Perry may have more than his fair share of haters, but one thing is certain. He is a proven success with a golden touch and no signs of slowing down.
Such is the case with Oprah Winfrey’s OWN network, which has benefited greatly since Perry came on board four years ago with original programming that ended up saving the once struggling channel, according to the Associated Press.
Among the shows Perry created was “The Haves and Have Nots,” a prime-time drama that the Associated Press described as being “drama fueled by connivers, sex and blackmail.” The show, now in its fourth season, has become an certified hit for OWN with delivering record-setting ratings that included more than 3.7 million viewers tuned in to its third season finale.
In addition to “The Haves and Have Nots,” Perry supplied other hits for the network such as the drama “If Loving You Is Wrong,” and comedies “Love Thy Neighbor” and “For Better or Worse,” which started a new season on OWN this month.
“I would say, ‘I think that’s too much! It’s over the top! Oh my God, I can’t believe this is happening!’” Winfrey told the AP about “The Haves and Have Nots,” when recalling how she winced when Perry sent her scripts he’d written for her approval.
Fortunately for OWN, Perry’s determination and knack for being in tune with his audience ultimately won.
“He would say to me, ‘I know this audience better than you do, I know what the audience wants,’” she said. “And he’d say, ‘I’m telling you it’s gonna work.’ And every time he’s been right.”
Keeping his hand on the pulse of his audience has resulted in long-standing success for Perry who describes his fans as those who are “familiar with struggle,” the folks who range from those working in service jobs, being in the church pews and having family with a crazy relative like Perry’s popular take no crap character with a gun, Madea.
“He’s creating an empire based on what he knows, based on what he likes, and he’s doing it himself, and he’s coming from a very challenging background,” Viola Davis, who starred in “Madea Goes to Jail,” told the AP. ”But I think he has a vision that is much larger. And the thing I love about him, too, is that he’s targeting an audience that is underserved.”
Perry’s good fortune stems from self-producing 15 films which have grossed more than $740 million at the box office worldwide, building his own 200,000-square-foot Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta and the programs he created for OWN.
“You get some laughter, you get some education, you get some therapy and you get some joy and some happiness, and at the end of it, you realize you’ve learned something,” Perry said in a recent interview when describing his vision.
With success comes opportunity for Perry, who has expanded beyond portraying Madea to earning raves for playing a slick lawyer in the critically acclaimed film “Gone Girl” and making his presence known this year in the adaption of the best-selling novel “Brain on Fire,” in addition to “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2.”
Up next for Perry is the expansion of his production studio as well as writing, producing and directing what will be TLC’s first scripted series, “Too Close to Home.”
For those who have criticized his comedies (too basic,) his dramas (too melodramatic), messaging (too preachy) and his (too simplistic), among other things, Perry responds, saying
“I’m not trying to write ‘Revenant.’ I’m not trying to do ‘Gone Girl. None of those things interest me. As an artist, this is what I like to paint. If you don’t like my paintings, then they’re not for you. But because you don’t like my paintings, for you to say this work is crap, it’s horrible, it’s awful — that’s ridiculous.”
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