Discovery CEO praises Tyler Perry’s new series for Oprah Winfrey Network

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Oprah Winfrey and director/actor Tyler Perry. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)

Oprah Winfrey and director/actor Tyler Perry. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)

It seems like things just keep looking up for Oprah’s OWN Network. Just ahead of Oprah’s highly-publicized sit-down interview with Beyoncé (scheduled to debut Saturday night on OWN), Discovery’s CEO, David Zaslav revealed that OWN is doing better than expected.

According to Deadline Hollywood, Zaslav told analysts this morning that OWN is “ahead of where we thought we’d be.” The network’s audience was up in all 12 months of 2012, and was up 36 percent for the full year.

Zaslav also talked about two of OWN’s upcoming scripted series written, directed, and produced by Tyler Perry, which are scheduled to premiere in May.

The drama, The Have and The Have Nots, has been described as Perry’s answer to Downton Abbey, and Love Thy Neighbor is a comedy set in a neighborhood restaurant called Love’s Diner.

“I’ve seen the scripts and they look strong,” Zazlav said of Perry’s shows. “Winfrey is actively involved with the projects. Perry just sent me some pictures and Oprah was in the control room.”

Zaslav went on to say that Discovery is “fully on track” to see OWN break even financially in the second half of this year.

Follow Chris Witherspoon on Twitter at @WitherspoonC