TBS set a basic cable record with the double-barreled premiere of Tyler Perry’s House of Payne on Wednesday night. While you were watching So You Think You Can Dance, the first half-hour of Payne at 9 o’clock scored 5.2 million viewers. The 9:30 episode attracted 5.8 million– and that’s the highest rating in the history of the world for a sitcom on basic cable.
Tyler Perry, of course, is the writer and actor who’s best known for stage and movie melodramas that feature African-American characters in moral dilemmas– and his name as part of the title (as in the sitcom). His most famous character is Mabel Simmons (above left), known to millions as Madea.
Perry himself puts on the wig to play the old gal.
Payne centers on a gruff fire chief and his multigenerational household.
Variety says the series is “a result of pure salesmanship,” “old-fashioned” and “unfunny.”
TBS ordered 100 episodes. It has the show exclusively until the fall of 2008. Then it has to share the show with TV stations that pre-bought the show and will air it five times a week.