There may be a deal brewing to sell a majority stake in Black Entertainment Television.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, there is a possibility that the parent company of BET Networks, Paramount, is considering selling a majority stake in the company. A source told the media outlet that the company, which includes BET, VH1, and the BET+ streaming service, could be sold to Black studio executive and owner, Tyler Perry.
Perry, who already has a working relationship with BET, has a current deal with Paramount that has been going on since 2017. His deal with the company is reportedly coming to an end, and it could lead to a new deal where Perry could become a majority owner of BET.
Although the talks are in the early stages, there is no guarantee that a deal will take place. If one is done, Paramount is still looking to be involved as a minority owner of the property. They will also continue with the commercial agreements they have with BET for content across its platforms.
If a deal is done, it will most likely include BET Studios, which launched in 2021. The partners involved in BET Studios include partners Kenya Barris, Rashida Jones, and Aaron Rashon Thomas. VH1 was shifted under the BET umbrella last year.
BET was started as a Black-owned entity in 1980 by Robert L. Johnson (who currently owns The RLJ Companies) and his wife Sheila Johnson, until he sold the network to Viacom in 2000 for $2.3 billion, making him the first Black billionaire. BET was the first cable network to specifically cater to Black audiences.
In October 2019, Perry opened Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta. The successful filmmaker, actor, director, and producer turned a former army base into a brand new 330-acre studio, making him the first African American to own a major film production studio.