Variety is reporting that Tyler Perry and the Writers Guild of America West have settled on a contract that covers writers on his TBS comedies “House of Payne” and “Meet the Browns.”
The deal, announced Wednesday, came after five months of negotiations as well as protesters picketing the October launch of his new studio facility in Atlanta.
The guild had accused Perry of firing four writers around the same time because they were pushing for WGA coverage. Perry denied the charge, saying the four were let go because he was unhappy with the quality of their work on “Payne” and the upcoming spinoff “Browns”
According to the WGA announcement, the new pact does not involve the reinstatement of the four writers, three of whom were WGA members.
At the time the WGA went public with its fight against Perry, the guild said Perry and his reps were resisting the WGA’s contract terms. Perry’s reps countered that the talks has stalled on a narrow issue of residual payments to writers if the shows’ reruns were to air on broadcast TV. (“House of Payne” has aired in both first-run syndication and on TBS.)
Vic Bulluck, exec director of the NAACP’s Hollywood bureau, was credited by the guild and Perry as being “instrumental” in helping both sides bridge the gap after the October dustups, reports Variety.
In a joint statement, Perry and WGA West president Patric Verrone emphasized the unique role that Perry plays in the industry as a prominent African-American multi-hyphenate and one of the few truly indie producers. Perry finances and owns both TBS series outright.
“With a continued focus on fostering young, diverse talent, we are eager to continue our dialogue with the WGA to dramatically increase the number of minority writers working in Hollywood today,” Perry said in a statement, also noting that the WGA deal comes after he has already completed deals with SAG, DGA, Teamsters and IATSE.
Verrone cited Perry’s impressive track record in film and TV “at a time when true independent producers like Mr. Perry are rare in this business.”