Tyler Perry and Oprah Winfrey first announced they were working together a couple of months ago. Now the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) has greenlit two Perry shows, a drama and a comedy. Perry will write, direct and produce them.
The drama is called The Haves and The Have Nots, and will deal with the wealthy Cryer family and the poor family of their housekeeper Hanna. This is his first attempt at TV drama. The comedy Love Thy Neighbor is set at Love’s Diner, where a cast of zany characters serve up good food, friendship and life lessons. Both series are slated for a mid-2013 launch.
OWN has struggled since its launch, even the eternally optimistic Winfrey referring to this task as “climbing a mountain.” This year has brought signs of progress though. It has a breakout hit with reality show Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s. It chronicles the trials and tribulations of Robbie Montgomery, a former singer with Ike and Tina Turner’s band. After learning she could no longer sing, she opened a successful soul food restaurant. At 71, Miss Robbie is trying to pass the business on. The prospects include her son Tim, who wants to be a rapper, and nephew Charles, who isn’t sure what he wants to do.
Winfrey initially planned to build the network around serious news offerings and the positive talk her show was famous for. But she’s giving in to the reality TV craze and the ratings it can bring. OWN just launched Six Little McGhees, about the McGhee sextuplets and their family. La Toya Jackson will star in 2013’s Life with La Toya. We don’t know yet if that show will deal with any of the ongoing Jackson family drama. I suspect it will be kind of boring if it doesn’t.