‘I’m Gonna Take as Much of It as I Can’: Tyler Perry Aims to Bring Black Ownership Back to BET In Potential Acquisition as Majority Stakeholder

Filmmaker Tyler Perry says he’s “beyond interested” in making Black Entertainment Television (BET) “black-owned again.”

Last month, it was first reported that Perry — who has been partners with the network and its parent company Paramount since 2017 — was in talks to buy a majority stake in BET. He also helped launched the streaming platform, BET Plus, as a joint venture between BET and Tyler Perry Studios in 2019.

Tyler Perry. (Photo: Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)

During an interview with “Entertainment Tonight” on April 4, the 53-year-old actor and playwright confirmed the rumors were true, told journalist Nischelle Turner that he plans to acquire Paramount’s majority stake if presented with the opportunity.

Turner caught up with the director on the set of his upcoming film, “Six Triple Eight,” at Tyler Perry Studios.

“Rumor? No, it’s not a rumor,” admitted Perry. “I’ve been there for four years now and had tremendous success. I wasn’t expecting this to happen, so, yes — if that is possible, I’m very, very interested in taking as much of it as I can.

He said, “If it’s possible, I’m gonna take as much of it as I can.”

Perry currently has several shows airing on BET, the same network that helped to fund his first major movie back in 2005, “Diary of a Mad Black Woman.” The philanthropist also told Turner that he liked the idea of so many other Black entrepreneurs being in a position to consider buying BET.

Sean “Diddy” Combs and Byron Allen are also reportedly interested in buying a stake in the network. Perry added that it was important for the network to be Black-owned again.

“Part of it is — and I’ve read about Byron Allen and Puffy and everybody wanting to bid and so on and so forth, and I think it’s really great because when, this is what I love about it, when Bob Johnson sold it in 2000, I think it was, there wasn’t one Black person who could buy it,” Perry explained.

“So now, to see all of these Black people, men and women, who are able to be in a position to buy it? Man, that makes me feel really, really excited.”

Johnson founded BET in 1979 with his wife Sheila and later sold the company to Viacom.

Perry went on the credit Viacom and Paramount for nurturing the network but added that there was sadness in the community when BET was not under Black’s ownership.

“I think there was sadness when Bob sold it, and I think there’ll be happiness when it’s Black-owned again,” he continued.

“And even though Shari (Redstone) and what is it? Viacom and Paramount? They’ve done a phenomenal job with it. They didn’t let it fall by the wayside; they didn’t let it go into dust. They nurtured it and took care of it.”

He said, “And to see Shari at this position saying, ‘I think it should be returned to a Black owner?’ I figured, OK, see, that’s my kind of person.'”

Perry teased Turner after she asked about the timeline of his potential purchase and said that the matter could be resolved in 22 years.

“We can very much say that there are conversations, I am beyond interested, and there will be a resolution in … 22 years,” he joked.

Fans reacted to the news on social media.

“Black excellence.”

“Tyler Perry bout to buy BET hope he stay safe out here.”

“Nah, I am not ready for BET to become Tyler Perry Networks. lol.”

Perry is currently a minority stakeholder in the company along with ‘Black-ish” creator Kenya Barris and others. His shows “House of Payne,” “Oval,” “Sistas,” and “Assisted Living,” are currently airing on BET.

“All the Queen’s Men” is currently available on BET Plus, the network that’s also home to his popular “Madea” film series, “Daddy’s Little Girls,” and others.

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