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Tyler Perry Confirms Interest in BET: ‘I’m Very, Very Interested in Taking…. as Much of it as I Can’

Tyler Perry Confirms Interest in BET: ‘I’m Very, Very Interested in Taking…. as Much of it as I Can’

After rumors have been circulating that Paramount is looking to unload the majority of its stake in the BET Network, Tyler Perry’s name has been mentioned as a frontrunner. Now, the filmmaking entrepreneur has confirmed that it is not a rumor and that “he is very, very interested in taking as much of it.”

In an exclusive interview with Entertainment Tonight, Perry expresses his interest in being the majority owner of the formerly Black-owned network.

While being interviewed by Entertainment Tonight’s Nischelle Turner on the set of his latest movie, Six Triple Eight at Tyler Perry Studios, he takes away any doubt about his interest to become the majority owner of BET.

“Rumor? No, it’s not a rumor,” Perry told Turner. “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…”

He reiterated his plan to get as much of BET as he can.

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

The successful writer and director also mention that he knows of efforts by other people of color, like Sean “Diddy” Combs and Byron Allen to want to be the next Black owner of BET.

“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. 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.”

He credits the current owner of the network with keeping it relevant to the point that it didn’t “fall by wayside.”

“I think there was sadness when Bob sold it, and I think there’ll be happiness when it’s Black-owned again. And even though Shari 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.'”

BET was started as a Black-owned entity in 1980 by Robert L. Johnson (who currently owns The RLJ Companies) and his wife Sheila Johnson, until he sold the network to Viacom in 2000 for $2.3 billion, making him the first Black billionaire. BET was the first cable network to specifically cater to Black audiences.

In October 2019, Perry opened Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta. The successful filmmaker, actor, director, and producer turned a former army base into a brand new 330-acre studio, making him the first African American to own a major film production studio.

Tyler Perry Confirms Interest in BET: ‘I’m Very, Very Interested in Taking…. as Much of it as I Can’

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