Tyler Perry in Talks to Buy BET From Paramount

Tyler Perry is in talks to purchase a majority stake of BET Media Group amid reports that parent company Paramount Global is exploring a sale of the asset, Variety has confirmed.

Perry currently owns a minority stake in the operation run by CEO Scott Mills, which includes cablers BET and VH1, and also produces a large portion of the programming available on BET and streamer BET+, which he helped launch in 2019. Also among BET’s divisions is production company BET Studios, which counts Kenya Barris, Rashida Jones and Aaron Rahsaan Thomas as minority stake holders.

Perry and BET have a long history, as the network helped fund his first feature, 2005’s “Diary of a Mad Black Woman.” In 2017, Perry endeavored on a long-term film deal with Paramount, with a TV deal that began in May 2020. The partnership has been a lucrative and successful endeavor for Perry, Paramount Global president and CEO Bob Bakish and BET Networks president Scott Mills.

In addition to selections from his film library, among Perry’s TV projects currently available on BET and BET+ are “House of Payne,” “Sisters,” “The Oval,” “Ruthless,” “Zatima” and “Assisted Living.”

According to The Wall Street Journal, which was first to report Paramount Global is interested in selling off BET in an article published Monday, “The decision to consider selling a majority stake of the assets, which cater primarily to Black audiences, is part of the entertainment giant’s effort to shore up resources to bolster its flagship Paramount+ streaming service and its advertiser-supported free streaming platform Pluto TV, some of the people said.”

Earlier this year, Paramount announced it would be rebranding both Showtime’s linear and streaming platforms as Paramount+ With Showtime, folding the iconic brand into its priority streamer Paramount+. The move has already led to significant leadership changes and layoffs across the company.

Representatives for Paramount Global and Perry did not immediately respond to request for comment.

Originally published at variety.com

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