In a historic move, Tyler Perry has become the first African American to own two major television networks, BET and VH1. The media mogul finalized a deal to acquire BET Media Group from Paramount Global for an undisclosed amount, according to multiple sources . The deal also includes VH1, which was reorganized into the BET Media Group earlier this year.
Perry, who is known for his successful movies and TV shows, has been a longtime partner of Paramount and BET. He helped launch the BET+ streaming service in 2019, in which he owns a minority stake. He also owns Tyler Perry Studios, a 330-acre production facility in Atlanta that employs thousands of people.
Perry’s purchase of BET and VH1 marks a milestone for Black ownership and representation in the media industry. BET was founded in 1980 by Bob Johnson as the first network dedicated to the Black community. Johnson sold BET to Viacom in 2000 for $2.3 billion. VH1 was launched in 1985 as a sister network of MTV, focusing on music videos and pop culture.
Perry has not commented on his plans for the two networks, but many fans and celebrities have congratulated him on social media for his achievement. Perry has been praised for his rags-to-riches story, his philanthropy and his empowerment of Black talent. However, some critics have also expressed concerns about Perry’s creative control and influence over the networks, citing his controversial portrayals of Black characters and issues in his works .