Tyler Perry has communicated his interest in buying majority stake in BET, saying, “I’m very, very interested in taking as much of it…as I can.”
While on the set of his movie Six Triple Eight at Tyler Perry Studios, Perry told ET‘s Nischelle Turner that “it’s not a rumor” that he wants to take control of the network, saying, “I’ve been there [with BET] 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…as I can.”
“We can very much say that there are conversations,” he said later in the interview. “I am beyond interested.”
Addressing the competition he has for buying the majority stake–rapper/businessman Diddy and entertainment businessman Byron Allen–Perry said that he is excited about the battle ahead.
“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,” 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.”
He also said how he is ready for the network to be under Black executive control, something that went away once Johnson sold it to Viacom.
“I think there was sadness when Bob sold it, and I think there’ll be happiness when it’s Black-owned again,” he continued. “And 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.'”
Paramount’s move to sell BET was first announced in March. Perry is probably one of the potential buyers in the best position to actually acquire the network since he helped launch the BET+ streaming service and has had much success with his original programs on the streamer, as well as the linear network.