Tyler Perry coming to a TV near you

I am usually a latecomer to mainstream trends – fore example, I only enjoy “Friends” now that its off the air. Likewise, I became a fan of Tyler Perry long after he began selling out playhouses, but at least I was ahead of most of mainstream America’s entertainment consumers and producers.

Anyway, I surprised to see a promo last week while watching Friends (heheh) for a new show called “Tyler Perry’s House of Payne.” And you know you’ve hit mainstream when the LAT does a story about your new TV show:

Four years ago, Tyler Perry pitched an idea for a sitcom about a firefighter with two kids who moves in with his parents after his crack-addicted wife burns their house down.

The network executives loved it. Except they didn’t want the hero to be a firefighter. And they didn’t want veteran stage actors Cassi Davis and Lavan Davis to play the leads. And they didn’t want the matriarch to make so many references to Jesus and the Bible. And they wanted to bring in their own writers to help Perry with the script.

Perry got the message: “They wanted a different show.”

So he walked away, though not from “Tyler Perry’s House of Payne.” It will debut in June on cable’s Turner Broadcasting System, which bought 100 episodes, sight unseen, for $200 million in an unprecedented deal sealed after test-episodes of the show ran in 10 U.S. markets.

Now, can I put that last graf into perspective? TBS bought 100 episodes, without even knowing what they look like yet, of House of Payne. Heroes, which is arguably this season’s biggest hit, has only sold nine episodes to NBC by the halfway mark of its season. ABC first bought 13 episodes of Ugly Betty, another huge, from-the-behind hit this season, and finally renewed it for a second season just last month.

Basically, with 100 episodes ordered, Tyler Perry has a guaranteed job for at least four years, which must be a rarity in Hollywood. It just confirms a theory I’ve had for a long time – when it’s God giving the blessings, He just keeps on giving. Man.

2 thoughts on “Tyler Perry coming to a TV near you

  1. I’m a bit more skeptical.

    To begin with, the Times says the series was bought “sight unseen” before pointing out that there were “test episodes”, which is a bit of a contradiction.

    Secondly, I doubt this is $200 million “pay or play” deal – that is, if the series bombs, the network probably won’t have to continue to pay and run it. On the other hand, in the long run, if the series is a mega-hit, Tyler may be getting a raw deal.

    That said, I’m always impressed when I discover someone I’ve never heard of is a cultural phenemonon… I only recently heard of Tyler, and while initially skeptical (I have a problem with any film director who puts their name in the title), I gotta say the man is an awesome director (although he’s crap as an actor in drag).

    No matter, it’ll be interesting to see what sort of series he can make without a network getting their hands on it.

  2. Darleene,

    Thanks for blogging about Tyler Perry’s House of Payne.

    Check out the newest sneak peek of the show on TBS.com.

    If you need anything else or have any questions of concerns, let me know.

    Seth Miller
    Director, Digital Marketing

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