Good news for Atlanta’s Tyler Perry Studios, honorees at this year’s IMAGE Film Awards Gala. Few people outside the 404 area code are likely to appreciate what TPS managed this past year and a half–in short: they wrote, produced, shot, and finished the entire 100 episode syndication run of the hit television series! It may be old fashioned (a traditional three-camera sit com with laugh track), but to me it harkens back to the days when shows like Good Times, The Jeffersons, Sanford and Son, and All in the Family populated prime time line-ups. Or at least to the days of pre-merger WB and UPN.
More “House of Payne” on the way
TBS has given Tyler Perry the green light for 26 more episodes of “House of Payne” on top of the 100 they already committed to and have been airing since last summer. The show regularly draws 2 million-plus viewers a week.
Perry turned the syndication model upside down. He paid for 10 pilot episodes out of his own pocket, gave them for free to networks in 2006 to prove the show’s worth, then sold the 100 to TBS upfront. So instead of airing 22 episodes a year for four or five years, he taped an incredible 100 episodes in less than a year. And TBS is airing them in a year’s time, two a week. Critics haven’t been too kind but the show is successful for what TBS is looking for.
Atlanta-based TBS and TNT are both adding more and more original programming. TNT has three upcoming dramas, all with big names: law drama “Raising the Bar” created by Steven Bochco of “NYPD Blue” fame with Mark Paul Gosselaar and Jane Kaczmarek; modern-day “Robin Hood” called “Leverage” starring Timothy Hutton; and “Truth in Advertising,” starring Eric McCormack (“Will & Grace”) and Tom Cavanagh (“Ed”).
TBS plans to flip its current 80% acquired content vs. 20% original content to 80% original and 20% acquired. The network, which focuses on comedy, has no choice. The pipeline of broadcast sitcoms of any note has dried up.