OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network, moving into original scripted programming, will air two new series from writer-director Tyler Perry in 2013 under an exclusive, multiyear partnership.
Perry, known for his “Madea” comedies in theaters, will serve as executive producer, write and direct both series, OWN said today in a statement. The shows will premiere in mid-2013.
The deal with Perry bolsters the lineup at OWN, Winfrey’s joint venture with Discovery Communications Inc., which has improved ratings this year after a disappointing start in 2011. In addition to movies, Perry produces cable’s “Tyler Perry’s House of Payne” and “Meet the Browns.” The TV shows, distributed by Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.’s Debmar-Mercury, run on Time Warner Inc.’s TBS.
“I have been looking forward to the day when we would be in the position to enter the world of scripted television,” Winfrey, OWN’s chief executive officer, said in the statement. “That day has come.”
In its most recent quarter, OWN’s prime-time ratings rose 63 percent among the target audience of women ages 24-54, the company said. The network cited “Oprah’s Next Chapter,” the talk-show host’s interview program, and the life-coaching reality show “Iyanla: Fix My Life.”
With this deal, OWN becomes the exclusive destination for Perry’s new television series and projects, according to the statement. He will continue to distribute his movies and existing cable shows, including “For Better or Worse,” with Lions Gate. That program also runs on TBS.
Discovery, based in Silver Spring, Maryland, rose 0.6 percent to $59.95 at the close in New York. The shares have gained 46 percent this year. Lions Gate, the independent studio based in Vancouver and run from Santa Monica, California, dropped 2 percent to $14.96 and has climbed 80 percent so far in 2012.