Tyler Perry Clears Up Confusion About His Interest in Buying BET

Tyler Perry Attends BET Awards (Shutterstock)

Despite competition from Diddy and Byron Allen, Tyler Perry says he’s “very interested” in buying BET.

While speaking with Entertainment Tonight, Perry confirmed reports that he wants to add Black Entertainment Television to his portfolio.

“Rumor? No, it’s not a rumor,” he told ET during an interview at Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta. “I’ve been there 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.”

As previously reported, Paramount Global is looking to sell a majority stake in BET Media Group, which includes BET, BET+, BET Her, BET Studios (the production arm of BET), BET Digital and VH1.

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BET was founded in 1980 by Bob Johnson and his wife Sheila Johnson. Paramount, then known as Viacom, acquired the network in 2001 for a reported $2.3 billion.

While Perry praised the brand’s current ownership, he said he’d like to see BET return to Black ownership.

“I think there was sadness when Bob sold it, and I think there’ll be happiness when it’s Black-owned again,” Perry said. “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.”

Perry’s comedy Sistas airs on BET. He also has a financial stake in the subscription-based BET+ streaming service.

Details emerged in March that Paramount is exploring a potential sale of BET Media Group, prompting Byron Allen and Diddy to express interest.

“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,” Perry 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,” he added. “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.”