Article by: Eboni T. Thomas
When Oprah Winfrey launched her eponymous cable network in 2011, Tina Perry was an integral part of the team that came together to make Winfrey’s vision a reality. Since that launch, OWN has continued to experience an upward trajectory in viewership, with increasing ratings year after year. Having oversight of all business affairs and legal matters at OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network, in addition to being a member of the OWN LLC Board, Perry has her hand in nearly every aspect of OWN’s business, both on screen and behind the scenes.
When the network added scripted dramas to its programming roster, Perry was instrumental in setting the stage for success. She negotiated the agreement with Lionsgate television for the popular megachurch drama Greenleaf and for Oscar-nominated director Ava DuVernay to write, direct and executive produce the critically acclaimed series Queen Sugar. Both shows regularly top ratings for African-American women. Most recently, Perry negotiated the deal for Mara Brock Akil and Salim Akil’s new series Love Is as well as two new series from prolific hitmaker Will Packer coming to OWN later this year.
Savoy recently caught up with Mrs. Perry to ask a few questions:
What are the most challenging and most rewarding matters you have handled at OWN?
My most challenging and rewarding experiences are always intertwined. I have had the privilege of being at OWN from its infancy, which has been amazing. My role in helping to turn a startup television network into a success was challenging in that we had to work extremely hard to shape and employ the processes of a business from scratch. But, the reward has been well worth it. OWN has provided the most gratifying moments in my media and entertainment career.
What is a typical day in your life like, and how do you bal- ance your professional and personal life?
A typical day in my life is jam-packed and unpredictable. But, I get to do things both professionally and personally that I love. Professionally, I love television because the industry is consistently evolving. Plus, I get to work with some truly amazing people. Personally, I have a tremendous passion for the arts. My husband and I spend as much of our free time as possible supporting the arts…directly supporting artists, galleries, independent art spaces, arts educational institutions and museums. We believe immensely in art patronage and appreciate that our love of art offers a nice balance to our professional careers in creative industries.
What would most people be surprised to know about you?
I think people would be surprised to know that as much as I love television, my first love was the movies. Since I was a kid, I’ve watched tons of movies of all genres, and to this day, my husband and I spend quite a bit of time in theaters. There is still something magical about watching movies on the big screen.
What was the last thing you watched on TV, and why did you choose it?
The last thing I watched on TV was the season finale of Atlanta on FX. Working in the business, I watch a great deal of television and I love what Atlanta has done for the medium. The show is sharply written, well produced, and the cast is spot-on. There is a cinematic feel to the show that keeps me tuned in week after week.
More about Tina Perry
Tina Perry holds a Juris Doctor degree from Harvard Law School, a Master of Science in Comparative Social Policy from the University of Oxford and graduated with Honors from Stanford University. She is a founding board member of The Mistake Room, LA’s only independent non-profit cultural institution devoted to an international program of contemporary art and thought. Perry is also a member of the California Institute of the Arts Board of Trustees.