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Tyler Perry says his interest in buying a majority stake in BET following news that Paramount was exploring a sale is far from rumor.
The producer and studio owner, who has been a longtime partner of BET, dispelled notions that he wasn’t fully interested in the network while recently speaking to Entertainment Tonight at Tyler Perry Studios.
“Rumor? No, it’s not a rumor,” Perry said. “I’ve been there for four years now and had tremendous success. I wasn’t expecting this to happen, so, yes … If it’s possible, I’m gonna take as much of it as I can.”
The Hollywood Reporter first reported news of interest from Perry whose 2017 deal with Paramount is reportedly ending soon. If he was able to make the purchase, the majority stake in BET would give the mogul ownership of the brand that airs many of his shows. At the time, multiple sources told the magazine that the sale was still in the early stages, as well as other interested buyers, like Bryon Allen and P. Diddy.
While speaking to ET, the actor, writer, producer and studio owner explained the reasoning behind his strong interest in buying a stake in BET, noting that it would return the network back to a Black owner.
“I think there was sadness when Bob sold it, and I think there’ll be happiness when it’s Black-owned again,” Perry said. “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. 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 added that despite facing competition for ownership, he is ultimately excited about there being several Black figures who are able to be a part of these talks and stake a claim in the Black-focused network.
“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,” he said. “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. 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.”
Paramount, THR reported, is expected to maintain a minority stake in the business, as well as a commercial relationship.
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