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The storied business partnership between two of black America’s biggest and most wealthy entertainment moguls has unfortunately come to an end.
According to The Grio, Tyler Perry has finalized the cessation of his relationship with Oprah Winfrey’s OWN cable television network. Perry has signed a new long-term deal with Viacom, which will give him the opportunity to create television shows for Viacom-owned networks, such as BET.
Perry began his contractual relationship with OWN in October 2012. At the time, Winfrey had not too long ago started her television network. The outlet was in its infancy stage and was struggling with low ratings. Money was being lost and many speculators of the situation believed that OWN was in danger of folding.
However, when Perry came along with his arsenal of television shows, such as The Haves and the Have Nots, For Better or Worse, The Single Moms Club, and others, OWN was able to boast over some of the highest television ratings that the company had ever had.
The same speculators that foresaw OWN’s demise gave Perry a lot of credit for the network’s major turnaround. In 2016, however, word circulated that there was some friction between Perry and Winfrey, which was allegedly brought on by disagreements over the creative direction of Perry’s shows on the OWN network.
Whatever the case was, the end of a prosperous era in Black Hollywood ultimately came to an end. For now, Perry will stay put since he is contractually bound by his obligations to OWN until May 2019. However, as part of the new deal, Perry gave Viacom exclusive distribution rights to his short-form video content.
Also, Viacom’s Paramount Pictures group will have “first-look” rights on Perry’s feature-film concepts. OWN released a statement disavowing any abrupt exit by Perry that would be effective immediately. The statement also mentioned the recent success of other OWN projects, such as Queen Sugar and Greenleaf.