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Tyler Perry OWNS cable TV
Posted by Rodney Carmichael @Rappin_Rodney on Fri, Feb 7, 2014 at 4:30 PM


COURTESY TYLER PERRY STUDIOS
Tyler Perry
Tyler Perry continues to confound critics and naysayers. And his latest populist feat has reaped more of the same for his friend and business partner Oprah Winfrey.

On Tuesday night, Perry's "The Haves and the Have Nots" garnered record-breaking ratings for Winfrey's OWN network. In fact, it owned cable boxes across the country with a total of 3.4 million viewers. Besides being the second most-watched telecast in OWN's history, it was the No. 1 cable telecast that night and ranked No. 2 in all of television among women aged 25-54. Numbers don't lie. We can play dumb all we want, scratching our heads as if we haven't a clue who's watching Perry's television productions. The fact is AMERICA'S watching.

A post yesterday on Indiewire's Shadow and Act blog featured writer and admitted Perry critic Tambay A. Obenson puzzling over the phenomenon.

With figures like that, especially the jumps in weekly and seasonal viewership (+16%, and a whopping +44%, respectively), the series is obviously growing immensely in popularity. Yet, no one wants to claim that they watch it (or any of Tyler Perry's other series), and, the mainstream media isn't really emphasizing the significance of any of this, as I think they would otherwise.

Meanwhile, OWN is reaping the success. The network, which reached profitability late last year after languishing in the red since its debut three years ago, owes its in-the-black status to its partnership with Perry. According to Obenson, Perry's put his dreams of starting his own network - a proposed Tyler TV, which would've been backed in part by his film distributor Lionsgate - on the back burner. That means his future TV titles, like the forthcoming "Single Moms Club" - which will be based on a soon-to-be-released movie of the same title - will also find a home on OWN alongside "The Haves and the Have Nots" and his two comedy series.

Tyler may be forgoing an expansion into cable real estate for now, but the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports this week that a firm "believed to be associated" to the mogul recently purchased 261 acres in Douglas County near Six Flags. It's located near 1,000 acres acquired by the company last year, which is encouraging speculation of a production facility expansion on Perry's part.

In terms of accounting for Tyler's growing TV audience and identifying that demographic, another Atlanta-based production might provide some insight. Also celebrating record-breaking ratings this season is the long-running Atlanta franchise of "Real Housewives." Now in its sixth season, RHOA hit a new milestone with 4.52 million viewers for an episode that aired last month in the middle of the current season. It currently averages 3.6 million viewers per episode, which is almost the same ratings record "The Haves and Have Nots" hit this week.

No hard numbers to back that hypothesis up, but it's certainly not a stretch to imagine "Real Housewives" and "The Haves and the Have Nots" sharing viewers. So would that make Oprah Winfrey the OWN equivalent to Bravo Andy?

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