TBS can now officially be renamed The Tyler Perry Network. TBS has given a straight-to-series order to a third sitcom from Perry and his Tyler Perry Studios. The network , which carries Perry’s House of Payne and Meet the Browns, has ordered 10 episodes of Tyler Perry’s For Better Or Worse. Like Meet the Browns, it is based on a Perry movie, in this case the Why Did I Get Married? films. And like House of Payne and Meet the Browns, syndication sales for the new series will be done by Debmar-Mercury. And like the other two sitcoms, the original 10-episode order for For Better Or Worse is expected to be followed by a massive 90-episode pickup. Meanwhile, after 222 episodes, Perry and Debmar-Mercury’s first sitcom, House of Payne, will end its run on TBS.
Tyler Perry’s For Better Or Worse follows the ups-and-downs of married life for Marcus and Angela, characters who originated in the features Why Did I Get Married and Why Did I Get Married Too?, with Michael Jai White and Tasha Smith, who played the roles in the movies, set to reprise their roles. Unlike his family-oriented sitcoms, For Better Or Worse will target young adults, more in line with TBS’ core young demos. Production on the series is slated to begin this summer at Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta. “Tyler Perry’s series have been tremendously successful for TBS, helping establish the network as a prime destination for African-American viewers,” said TBS’ head of programming Michael Wright.
Perry said he has mixed feelings closing the page on House of Payne while gearing up for the new series. “Even though it will be sad to say goodbye to House of Payne, I’m really looking forward to exploring new territory with For Better Or Worse,” he said. “Working on House of Payne taught me a lot about what it takes to make a successful television series, and I’m looking forward to applying that experience to For Better Or Worse.”
TBS’ association with Perry and Debmar-Mercury began in May 2006, when Perry funded 10 episodes of House of Payne and Debmar-Mercury gave them for free to 10 local stations in key markets. After the successful test, TBS picked up an additional 90 episodes of the series in a template Debmar-Mercury has used on several other multicamera comedy series, including Meet the Browns and the Ice Cube-produced Are We there Yet? for TBS. The premiere of House of Payne on TBS in June 2007 drew 5.9 million viewers, at the time basic cable’s biggest sitcom audience ever. The show remained basic cable’s No. 1 sitcom until TBS’ August 2008 premiere of Tyler Perry’s Meet the Browns. For the first quarter of 2011, House of Payne and Meet the Browns ranked among television’s Top 5 primetime sitcoms with African-American adults 18-34 and 18-49.