Tyler Perry’s exclusive TV production deal with OWN shouldn’t turn the self-improvement channel into just another general entertainment network, Discovery CEO David Zaslav told analysts this morning. “This is something Oprah really wants,” he says. “We were much too teachy and preachy and earnest when we started….The audience said, ‘We want to have fun’.” Indeed, Zaslav says Perry will help now that the channel “has begun to find a rhythm.” OWN also should start to become less of a drag on earnings. Discovery execs say it invested $29M in Q3, and will spend less than that in the current quarter resulting in a year-end total below last year’s $150M. The picture should improve next year; Discovery’s new pay TV deals, with higher affiliate rates for OWN, take effect in January and could generate about $125M for the channel. “Oprah has been working very hard — she’s on the air much more often,” Zaslav says. He noted that her most recent interview with singer Rihanna attracted more black women during the time period than ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC had combined.
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