Tyler Perry: ‘It’s The Power Of Oprah That Saved OWN, Not Me’


Tyler Perry is refuting claims that he “saved” Oprah Winfrey’s OWN Network with his shows, all four of which are ratings giants.

On an OWN-hosted panel to promote season 4 of The Haves and The Have Nots (which premiered on Jan 5) and season 5 of Love Thy Neighbor (premiering tonight), Perry said he wanted to “set the narrative straight” about his contributions to the network—he was specifically responding to a New York Magazine article titled “The Brand Keeping Oprah in Business.”

“It’s the power of Oprah that’s saved the network,” said Perry. “It’s the business sense of Oprah as a CEO to say [Tyler], come do this for my network. Yes, we have great ratings, but we’re not saving the network. Oprah herself has set that network on the right path, and she is the wind that is pushing it in the right direction.”

Perry, 46, recalled how in his 20s he once watched an episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show where she talked about the “cathartic” power of writing.

“At this point I don’t know what cathartic means, so I go to the dictionary to find out,” he joked, adding that he took Oprah’s advice and began writing, habitually. Soon afterwards, he had written his first play, I Know I’ve Been Changed, in 1992.

“Add 20-plus years to that and I have the opportunity to be on her network writing shows for her. I couldn’t even write a better story.”

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SOURCE: Essence – Yolanda Sangweni