Tyler Perry to Leave Oprah’s OWN for Viacom and Paramount

After five years with Oprah Winfrey’s OWN, Tyler Perry has landed a major deal with Viacom to produce a variety of productions at BET and other Viacom channels.

The five-year deal will see Tyler Perry develop exclusively licensed television series and only distributed video shorts for Viacom and is part of an effort to shift content for the company. Perry, who had free rein to develop films with any distributor after his Lionsgate deal wrapped in 2014, will now give Paramount Pictures exclusive first-look rights.

The film deal starts now, according to Variety, while Perry’s long-term TV deal won’t begin until his absolute overall deal with OWN wraps in May 2019.

“Viacom has a rich tradition of reaching my audience through their TV, film and digital platforms and I am excited to partner with them,” Perry said in a statement to various media outlets. “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.”

Tyler Perry at the Los Angeles premiere of ‘Alex Cross’ held at the ArcLight Cinemas Cinerama Dome in Los Angeles on October 15, 2012. (Tinseltown / Shutterstock, Inc.)

As part of Tyler Perry’s deal, he will create 90 episodes per year of comedy and drama series, and Deadline reported the agreement is similar to the one he had with OWN, a network which helped launch Winfrey after a slow start in 2008. OWN said Tyler Perry’s programs would continue to air on OWN through 2020.

“At the end of the exclusive relationship, OWN and Tyler Perry have the option to work together on a non-exclusive basis,” the network said in a statement to entertainment websites. “OWN has had great success in the scripted space with Tyler Perry and with its new original dramas ‘Queen Sugar’ and ‘Greenleaf.’ The network will continue to aggressively expand its roster of premium original scripted series.”