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Lionsgate is betting that Tyler Perry has the star power to carry an entire cable channel, Oprah Winfrey style.

That movie studio and Mr. Perry — whose flourishing African-American fan base consistently turns his plays, television shows and films into hits — are forming a new venture called Tyler TV, according to an industry official briefed on the matter who requested anonymity because the plans are private.

The partners will initially stock the channel with reruns of Mr. Perry’s sitcoms and movies, including the popular Madea series, in which he appears in drag as the title character, a gun-toting grandmother. They also plan to buy third-party content that meshes with Mr. Perry’s Christianity-tinged brand.

Lionsgate and Mr. Perry declined to comment.

Tyler TV, which is still a working title, is intended as a home base for the prolific Mr. Perry — just as Ms. Winfrey, one of Mr. Perry’s most ardent supporters, now operates OWN. But as OWN demonstrates, cable plans that seem promising can be tricky. Ms. Winfrey’s channel, a partnership with Discovery Communications, has been a major ratings disappointment.

The days when media companies could easily introduce channels have long passed because of a clogged cable dial and competition from the Web, among other factors. If a television queen like Ms. Winfrey has a difficult time making a go of it, even with the backing of a cable colossus like Discovery, might it seem presumptuous of Lionsgate and Mr. Perry to expect success?

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article courtesy of nytimes.com

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