Tyler Perry is doubling down on his no writers room rule by claiming bad ratings played a part in his decision.
The media mogul went viral earlier this month when he bragged about being the sole writer for his various shows on BET+ and OWN. “I have no writers room. Nobody writes any of my work. I write it all,” he said in an Instagram video. Perry immediately received backlash for his confession, with many asserting that his shows could become better with a writers room and he could give more opportunities to burgeoning writers.
Perry addressed the controversy in an interview with ESSENCE.
“I don’t know what people are complaining about because I’m writing specifically for my audience,” he said. “What people don’t know is early on, I had a writer’s room and it was a nightmare for me. Not only that but I had writers writing shows [and] they were turning in scripts that didn’t speak to my audience and my ratings took a dip.”
Tyler said that he’s not completely cut off to the idea for a writers room though. “As far as me and my shows — ‘The Have and the Have Nots’, ‘The Oval’, ‘Sistas’, the comedies, I’m going to write those shows. But there are other shows that we’re developing at the studios where there will be writers room with other show runners and giving lots of people opportunities to do that. But I’m going to hold on to my section over here.”
Mr. Perry has the receipts for knowing his audience, considering his rating have been top notch for his latest BET+ shows “The Oval” and “Sistas”.
In another interview with Level, Perry also addressed why he doesn’t have a writers room and why he’s even fired writers in the past. Back in 2008, it was believed that he fired four writers from his show “House of Payne” because they were trying to get a union contract with Tyler Perry’s production company, according to Deadline. However, Perry sees the situation differently.
“At the time, I had a bunch of writers who were nonunion, and I was unhappy with every single script they wrote. They were not speaking to the voice. They just didn’t get it.”
He continued, “There was a Black woman lawyer I was negotiating with to get WGA [Writers Guild of America union] writers on my show. I told her, ‘I can’t afford to pay those rates that every other studio pays. I need to structure differently.’ It looked like the deal was going to go through, so I fired the four writers and prepared to hire new writers through the WGA.”
He further clarified, “I’m getting calls that I fired writers for trying to unionize. What? I came to the WGA on my own to try to work with them! I fired the writers because they weren’t giving me what I wanted. Period. It was a mess.”
Perry went on to say that even when he had WGA writers on his shows, the scripts they were turning in resulted in low ratings. He said if he wanted a rewrite he would have to pay them because of union rules. “At one point, I thought they were submitting scripts that would need rewrites in order to get paid multiple times,” he said. “After dealing with all that bullsh*t? No. I ain’t doing it.”
There you have it. The solely Tyler Perry-written shows continue until further notice.