After a promo campaign that included Tyler Perry and Oprah Winfrey reprising their signature characters of Medea and Color Purple‘s Sofia and Perry guesting on Winfrey’s Next Chapter, Perry’s first series for Winfrey’s cable network OWN debuted last night. Drama The Haves And The Have Nots opened with as 1.77 million viewers (1.57 W25-54 rating) at 9 PM and another 1.8 million (1.67 W25-54 rating) for a second original episode at 10 PM. That was down from the debuts of Perry’s comedy series on TBS but marked the highest rated series debut in OWN’s history. The soapy Haves And The Have Nots, which was mostly panned by critics, is a take on Upstairs, Downstairs and follows the complicated dynamic between the rich and powerful Cryer family and the hired help who work in their opulent mansion set in Savannah, Georgia. The premiere episode built every quarter hour, growing +20% over the course of the 9 PM hour. Perry’s second series for OWN, comedy Love Thy Neighbor, premieres tonight with two back-to-back episodes. The ratings for The Haves And Have Nots come hours after Discovery Communications CEO David Zaslav said this morning that OWN is expected to swing into profitability this year.
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