Tyler Perry to Sue Producers for Studio Fire

Tyler PerryActor, Director, and Producer Tyler Perry has filed a lawsuit against producers citing negligence in connection to a fire set to his Tyler Perry Studios compound back in 2012. The entertainment mogul is alleging the producers of his television sitcom For Better Or Worse hired inept technicians who placed a studio light too close to a wooden set facade causing the blaze.

Tyler Perry is seeking $1.8 million from the producers of the show for damages to his 30 acre television and movie studio lot. Ironically, Perry is also credited as one of the producer of the series which falls under the Tyler Perry Studios banner, his own production company, which is in actuality, being held liable for the fire. Since the fire broke out back in May 2012, Perry had directed and written over 50 episodes of For Better Or Worse, which is now in its fourth season and airs on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN).

According to 2012 reports, Atlanta fire Chief Kelvin J. Cochran concluded the official cause of the fire was “undetermined” stating that the damage was too significant to identify the source of the fire. Back on May 1, 2012, fire officials responded to a call of a fire at the Tyler Perry Studios lot in the southwest region of Atlanta at around 8:41 p.m. with over 100 firefighters working to extinguish the blaze that was classified as a four-alarm fire. It took approximately one hour for firemen to contain and extinguish the fire. Officials say the blaze caused significant damage to an exterior building. No injuries were reported in connection to the incident.

While Tyler Perry is looking to sue producers of his show responsible for the studio fire, it should be noted that the Tyler Perry Studios endured a second fire incident three months following the May incident. In August of 2012, fire officials defended once again on the studio lot with incidence of a fire isolated to the roof of one of the buildings on the property. Fire officials identified the cause of that fire to be related to careless smoking. There has been no reports on whether Perry is blaming producers of For Better or Worse for that incident as well.

Tyler Perry come onto the Hollywood scene by creating and playing the loud, flamboyant character, Medea. Perry originally created the character for a series of stage plays which he later adapted and turned the Medea character into a money-making movie franchise. Tyler Perry has been named by Forbes Magazine as one of the entertainment industry’s highest paid entertainers banking in excess of $130 million between 2010 and 2011.  For Better or Worse is one of a number of projects Perry is producing as part of his multi-year deal to provide content for the Oprah Winfrey Network.

As Tyler Perry looks to hold the producers responsible for causing the fire to his studio, many producers connected to the project, For Better or Worse, are reportedly still a part of the production. With the actual cause of the blaze labeled as undetermined by fire officials, it will remain to be determined if Perry’s efforts to sue can hold up in a court of law.

By Hal Banfield

Atlanta-Journal Constitution

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