One of the most lucrative friendships among stars may be in jeopardy over good intentions gone awry. Sources close to the moguls told Daily Mail that Oprah is allegedly frustrated by Tyler Perry’s inability to receive constructive criticism in regards to his hit show, The Have and Have Nots. Are the long time friends Tyler Perry and Oprah Winfrey fighting?
The show first premiered on Oprah Winfrey’s OWN in 2012. Oprah and Tyler created promos to promote the show which featured her as Miss Sophia from the Color Purple and Tyler as the infamous Madea. Sources report the relationship is spiraling downhill as Winfrey attempt to provide feedback that would make his show better.
Sources say Oprah pitched the idea of bringing on new writer to which Perry declined.
According to BET News, “He resisted her feedback, the same way he resists the feedback of critics and media people who chastise his work, and became extremely defensive with her.”
The source added, “He told her, ‘Aren’t the shows delivering ratings for the network? Well, then let me do what I do and you can keep your focus group research to yourself.’ “
It is rumored that Tyler Perry saved Oprah’s network with the show, drastically improving the network’s viewership.
In July, 2012, Oprah opened up to ABC News about her struggles in launching her signature network.
“I don’t know of a worse week of my entire life,” Winfrey said in the two-part documentary of her first year as CEO of OWN. “I certainly did not expect the velocity of schadenfreude — meaning people sort of lying in wait for you to fail, or make a mistake.”
At that time, she made the public decision to lay off nearly 30 employees and cancel the Rosie O’Donnell Show.
“I knew from the time I stepped in as CEO, the only way through is that you’re either going to have to end it, or you’re going to have to make some cutbacks now so you’ll be able to go forward,” she said.
Since then Winfrey has made the necessary changes to her network and brought on the Tyler Perry to produce the soap opera drama, The Haves and the Have Nots along with singer sensation Tyrese and Reverend Run’s talk show, It’s Not You It’s Men. The network is also the home to relationship expert, Iyanla Vanzant, and her Iyanla: Fix My Life series.
The source who spoke about the budding feud notes that Oprah is resent the notation that Perry “saved” her network. TV Guide wrote, “Maybe Tyler Perry’s next movie should be called Madea Saves Oprah’s Network.”
Nelson reported that The Have and the Have Nots opened with 1.77 million viewers—the largest for an OWN series—and retains most of its audience. He produced a second show Love Thy Neighbor that premiered at 1.65 million viewers.
Though his works are successful and he’s renown among the African American community, critics and activist believe his compositions often perpetuate negative stereotypes. Rutgers University assistant professor Brittney Cooper blogged, “Tyler Perry Hates Black Women.” She notes in her blog that the lead female character, Tiki Sumpter, is a conniving law student/prostitute who was reared from a domestic worker of a wealthy southern family.
“It’s unfortunate to see,” says Cooper. “I have always thought Oprah to be more values-driven in terms of the choices she makes.”
An activist began a Change.org petition asking OWN to dump Perry’s programming because it’s counterproductive to her mission to educate, empower, and uplift people.
TV Critic Mary McNamara wrote, “Perry just might deliver the numbers OWN needs to survive. But he also might take down the whole Oprah brand to do it.”
At the onset of the creative process, Erik Logan — OWN network president — reported that Winfrey and Perry were determined to assemble a diverse cast for the show so it would appeal to a wider audience base. And since its premiere the show has kept its promise to bring in an audience.
Some critics have said that the feud is just rumors.
[Photo by Mark Von Holden/AP Images]