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A Growing 'Payne'

3 Nov, 2007 By: John Latchem

"House of Payne"

Most new television shows have a hard-enough time surviving their first season. For a show to secure a 100-episode order is all the more extraordinary. Yet cable network TBS did just that with its new hit sitcom “House of Payne,” about three generations of a black family living together in Atlanta.

The move is a little less surprising considering the show, which debuted in June, sprang from the mind of Tyler Perry, who has built a sizeable audience with his plays and films.

The first 20 episodes of the successful sitcom are coming to DVD Dec. 4 (prebook Nov. 7) with Tyler Perry's House of Payne Vol. 1, a $39.98 four-disc set from Lionsgate.

“It's a little ‘All in the Family,' a little ‘Cosby,' and a whole lot of Tyler,” said Tracy Ames, VP of marketing for Lionsgate, which has distributed all of Perry's films and a collection of his plays on DVD.

Lionsgate has sold more than 22 million Perry DVDs, and Ames said his fan base is growing, aided by a number of crossovers between Perry's various projects. Perry has a hand in writing and directing every episode of “House of Payne,” and in the first episode appeared as his Madea character, introduced on film in Diary of a Mad Black Woman. The neighbors on the show are the Brown family, subjects of Perry's upcoming film Meet the Browns.

“Tyler is building a family album of entertainment,” Ames said.

Future “House of Payne” DVDs will continue in 20-episode installments, Ames said. The first volume includes the featurette “Tyler's Vision: Why I Made HOP.”

Lionsgate will support the DVD release with a massive print and television ad campaign. Print ads will include a $3 discount coupon, while ads on such cable stations as TBS, BET and the Gospel Channel are designed to appeal to not only the target demographic of black women ages 25-49, but the wider Perry fan base of black Christian families.

The early December street date lets Lionsgate repromote all of Perry's earlier works in time for the holidays. Also available Dec. 4 will be a $79.98 gift set containing the seven plays from “The Tyler Perry Collection,” which includes Madea's Family Reunion, Madea Goes to Jail, Madea's Class Reunion, I Can Do Bad All by Myself, Meet the Browns, Diary of a Mad Black Woman and Why Did I Get Married?

“We wanted Tyler product available in time for the holidays, when families come together craving multigenerational entertainment,” Ames said. “It's not only the comedy that people crave, but there's a heart and soul to everything Tyler does. It wouldn't be Tyler without offering inspiration and guidance.”

In addition, urban Wal-Mart locations will offer half-palette displays of “House of Payne” with all seven of Perry's plays on DVD, as well as a 2008 Tyler Perry inspirational calendar.

Lionsgate previously released the DVDs of Perry's Daddy's Little Girls and the film versions of Diary of a Mad Black Woman and Madea's Family Reunion. Perry's film adaptation of Why Did I Get Married? is currently in theaters.

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