Oprah partners with Tyler Perry to create content for OWN … um, WTH?
Have you heard the news? Oprah is teaming up with Madea himself to create scripted fare for the struggling OWN. In this week’s ‘Clacking in Color,’ the sensational column spotlighting minorities in Hollywood, writer Jaylen Christie wonders: what the hell?
Growing up with aspirations of being a journalist, I was often told to look at Oprah Winfrey as the quintessential role model. How could I not? That woman runs the world. Needless to say, she’s definitely one of my idols, and my adoration of her only intensified when she launched her very own network at the start of 2011. Now, anyone who’s been keeping up with entertainment news knows that, well, the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) hasn’t exactly been an overnight success. Despite it premiering in 80 million homes, it’s still struggling a bit. However, it seems that Winfrey is trying to fix that. According to the New York Times, the multi-hyphenate is teaming up with another multi-hyphenate to bring success to her shaky network — Tyler Perry.
With that being said, I have only one thing to say: Are you kidding me?!
Seriously, Oprah! What gives? It’s common knowledge that I’m not the biggest fan of Tyler Perry. Anyone who’s been keeping up with Clacking in Color knows that. I’ve never had the opportunity to write about Perry, but now that I do, let me elaborate. I believe Perry has done wonderful things for African-American actors and actresses in regards to employment. I certainly can’t take that away from him. However, I just feel as though if you’ve seen one Tyler Perry project then you’ve seem them all. Don’t get me wrong. There are some stand-outs. The Family That Preys is an awesome movie. Nevertheless, Madea Goes to Jail, Madea’s Big Happy Family and Madea’s Witness Protection leave a lot to be desired. Perry’s works are predictable and follow the same bland formula. I also feel as though some of his recent works haven’t been big on quality. It’s kind of like he’s rushing. Yes, Madea can be funny, but it’s ignorant at best.
To that end, I’ve always been curious as to why Winfrey and Perry are friends. I don’t mean that in a negative way. I’m just curious. Winfrey has stated countless times that she detests rap music because of what it promotes. She even gave rapper Ludacris something of a cold shoulder when he appeared on her talk show several years ago with his Crash costars. Yup. She sure did. Pardon my slang, but Oprah don’t play that. So, why is she playing with Perry?
Perchance it’s because Perry does, in fact, have a built-in audience. His sitcoms on TBS — Meet the Browns and For Better or Worse — may feature stereotypical situations and pigeonholed characters, but people are watching. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Perry’s For Better or Worse drew in 3.4 million viewers for its premiere. That’s pretty solid for cable. Maybe he can do the same thing for OWN. Winfrey’s network frequently draws in less than a million viewers, and reports on USA Today indicated that several OWN staff members were laid off earlier this year. Oh, dear. Has Winfrey become desperate?
I’d like to think she hasn’t. Heck, she’s Oprah! I think that Perry knows better when it comes to creating suitable content for Winfrey. Set to debut in mid-2013, this will be OWN’s first scripted fare. I’m sure Perry will dial back on the outrageous meter. I won’t lie. I’m rather intrigued by this new development. If they play their cards right then this could be something awesome. I certainly believe that it will give OWN some much needed viewers. Perchance I’ll be one of them. If, for whatever reason, this doesn’t succeed, then I think I have a new title for the next Tyler Perry film …
Madea Gets Fired.