In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, entertainment mogul Tyler Perry is considering reopening his Atlanta studio. In an interview with Deadline, Perry stated that he shut down season two of his BET show The Oval due to the growing threat of the coronavirus.
"I was growing more and more concerned, so I decided to shut down the studio a few days before our production start, just to keep everybody safe,” Perry said.
However, Perry revealed that suspending television production had a negative financial impact on many of his employees. With the recent news that Georgia Governor Brian Kemp has reopened some businesses in the state, Perry also said that he wanted to reopen his Atlanta studio in a way that was safe for his employees.
"Many people in Georgia depend on these jobs for their livelihood," he said. "I started thinking about what a return would look like and how I could create a safe environment so people could work again with some peace of mind.”
In the interview, Perry also revealed that he tested 100 of his essential workers in a private lab for the coronavirus “Thank God, out of the 100 essential workers, all tested negative,” he said. “My goal is to find a path forward to protect both the health and the livelihoods of my cast and crew.”
To begin production on The Oval and Sistas in a manner that would have the health of his employees in mind, Perry says that he would house and quarantine his cast and crew on a 330-acre property in his studio. “It takes me 2 1/2 weeks to shoot a season of 22 episodes, and all of my shows are shot on the lot — we never leave the lot for anything anyway. So everything is already there,” he said.