Perry’s ‘For Better or Worse’ to air on TBS

TBS has ordered 10 epi­sodes of the new series Tyler Perry’s “For Better or Worse” from Tyler Perry Studios. The dramedy, based on Perry’s hit “Why Did I Get Married?” films, marks the third Tyler Perry series to come to TBS, which is also home to Tyler Perry’s “House of Payne” and “Meet the Browns.”

FOR BETTER OR WORSE—A scene from “Why Did I Get Married?” Michael Jai White, center, in confrontation with his babies’ momma, left, and wife, right. Tasha Smith, right, co-stars as his wife in the upcoming series.

As with “House of Payne” and “Meet the Browns,” syndication will be sold by Debmar Mercury. The series follows the ups-and-downs of married life for Marcus and Angela, two characters who originated in the feature films “Why Did I Get Married” and “Why Did I Get Married Too?” Michael Jai White (“The Dark Knight,” “Spawn”) and Tasha Smith (“Couples Retreat”) are set to reprise the roles of television anchor Marcus and salon owner Angela. Additional cast members to be announced.

The series marks a new direction for Tyler Perry’s television properties. Unlike his family-oriented sitcoms, this series will target young adults. Production on the series is slated to begin this summer at Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta.

“Tyler Perry’s series have been tremendously successful for TBS, helping establish the network as a prime destination for African-American viewers,” said Michael Wright, executive vice president, head of programming, for TBS, TNT and Turner Classic Movies . “Given such a remarkable track record, we’re excited for the opportunity to expand our relationship with Tyler Perry and Debmar-Mercury with the new series “For Better or Worse.”

“For Better or Worse” comes just as Tyler Perry’s history-making “House of Payne” prepares to end its highly successful run. “Even though it will be sad to say goodbye to “House of Payne,” I’m really looking forward to exploring new territory with “For Better or Worse,” said Perry. “Working on “House of Payne” taught me a lot about what it takes to make a successful television series and I’m looking forward to applying that experience to ‘For Better or Worse.’”

Debmar-Mercury Co-Presidents Mort Marcus and Ira Bernstein commented, “The entertainment industry has never seen anyone like Tyler Perry, an extra­ordi­nar­ily talented film/tele­vision/stage producer, writer, director, actor and mogul who is capable of repeatedly turning out hit after hit for both TBS and broadcast syndication. We are thrilled to be associated with another of Tyler’s unique, remarkable and groundbreaking series.”

TBS’s association with Perry and Debmar-Mercury first began in May 2006 with the announcement of a “House of Payne” test-run on 10 local independent stations. After the successful test, TBS and Debmar-Mercury announced an additional 100 episodes of the series to air nationally on TBS. The first-of-its-kind deal marked a new model for the television industry.

The national premiere of “House of Payne” on TBS in June 2007 drew 5.9 million viewers, at the time basic cable’s biggest sitcom audience ever. The show remained basic cable’s No. 1 sitcom until TBS’s August 2008 premiere of Tyler Perry’s “Meet the Browns.” For the first quarter of 2011, “House of Payne” and “Meet the Browns” ranked among television’s Top 5 primetime sitcoms with African-American adults 18-34 and 18-49.

Born into poverty and raised in a household scarred by abuse, Perry’s strength, faith and perseverance would later form the foundations of his plays, films, books and shows. A simple piece of advice from Oprah set his career in motion as a diary of his daily thoughts and experiences led to his writing of a musical, “I Know I’ve Been Changed,” in 1992. Five years later with no money left, sleeping in seedy motels and his car, Perry’s faith in himself and God only got stronger, allowing him to forge ahead. In 1998, his perseverance paid off when the play began a limited church run. The community came out in droves and Perry never looked back as he began an incredible run of eight plays in eight years. Madea first debuted in 2000’s “I Can Do Bad All By Myself” and spawned three more plays leading to Perry’s jump to the big screen with 2005’s “Diary of a Mad Black Woman,” which debuted at No. 1 nationwide. He followed with “Madea’s Family Reunion,” “Daddy’s Little Girls,” “Why Did I Get Married?” “Meet the Browns,” “The Family That Preys,” “I Can Do Bad All by Myself,” “Why Did I Get Married Too?” and “For Colored Girls,” which were all met with massive fan support and commercial success.

“Madea’s Big Happy Family,” which was first a stage play, is currently in theaters and opened at more than $25 million.

In 2006, Perry’s first book, “Don’t Make A Black Woman Take Off Her Earrings: Madea’s Uninhibited Commentaries On Life and Love,” shot to the top of the New York Times bestseller list and claimed two Quill Book Awards. In 2007, Perry expanded his brand to television with the series “House of Payne,” the highest-rated first-run syndicated cable show of all time and followed that up with “Meet the Browns,” the second highest debut ever on cable, after “House of Payne.” Perry has also signed on to produce Lionsgate upcoming comedy “We the Peeples” and will play the lead in “Good Deeds” and the title character in Rob Cohen’s “I, Alex Cross.”

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