May 13, 2020 / 12:48 AM / 22 days ago

Tyler Perry gets ahead of Hollywood with July production restart

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Filmmaker Tyler Perry on Tuesday became one of the first Hollywood film and television executives to announce the resumption of production in the midst of the coronavirus era.

FILE PHOTO: Movie mogul Tyler Perry accepts the Ultimate Icon award at the 2019 BET Awards in Los Angeles, California, U.S., June 23, 2019 - REUTERS/Mike Blake

Perry will start production of his television shows “Sistas” and “The Oval” on July 8 at his sprawling Tyler Perry Studios complex in Atlanta, Georgia, television network BET said in a statement.

Perry, 50, one of the wealthiest and most prolific black entrepreneurs in the entertainment industry, bought a former army base in Atlanta in 2015 and turned it into one of the largest production facilities in the United States. The 330-acre self-contained lot has housing, green space and 12 sound stages.

The announcement came as Hollywood movie studios, major television networks and streaming services are still drawing up protocols to keep actors and crew members safe on sets that were shut down across most of the world in mid-March because of the coronavirus epidemic.

They have yet to announce plans or dates for filming of TV shows and movies to resume.

Perry, the creator and star of the “Madea” movies, told Hollywood publication Deadline last month that he had drawn up detailed plans for his productions that involve sequestering the casts and crews in accommodation at his studios for the entire length of a shoot.

The plan followed consultations with labor unions and local authorities, Perry told Deadline.

Georgia was one of the first U.S. states to relax coronavirus restrictions, opening up barber shops, movie theaters and dine-in restaurants in late April.

“Sistas,” about the love lives and friendship of a group of single black females, and “The Oval”, a behind the scenes tale of life in the White House, are two of BET’s most popular scripted shows.

Perry wrote, produces and directs both shows.

Reporting by Jill Serjeant; editing by Richard Pullin

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