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City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP
City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP

Tyler Perry’s ‘For Better or Worse’ debuts Friday, Nov. 25 on TBS

Michael Jai White and Tasha Smith star in "Tyler Perry's For Better or Worse." CREDIT: TNT

Michael Jai White and Tasha Smith star in "Tyler Perry's For Better or Worse." CREDIT: TNT

Over the past five years, Tyler Perry’s TV output, with TBS’s “Meet the Browns” and “House of Payne,” has been traditional three-camera sitcom slapstick with a laugh track, a set-up that goes back six decades to “I Love Lucy.”

With “House of Payne” nearing retirement, the Atlanta mogul is effectively replacing it with “For Better or Worse,” a relationships dramedy which uses one camera and nixes the laugh track. Topically and somewhat stylistically, it’s closer to shows such as “The Game” and “Let’s Stay Together” on BET than “House of Payne” or “Meet the Browns.”

Check out the trailer here.

But like his first two television shows, he mines characters made popular in his films. One of the three couples on “For Better or Worse” is from the “Why Did I Get Married?” movies: loud, opinionated Angela (Tasha Smith) and feisty but loving Michael (Michael Jai White). Angela is the owner of a successful beauty salon married to Michael, a former pro football player who has started a new sports program called “C-Sports Now” with Richard (Kent Faulcon) and Joseph (Jason Olive).

The twist: Joseph is dating Keisha, Michael’s ex-girlfriend and mother of his teen daughter (Kiki Haynes). Richard’s wife Leslie (Crystle Stewart) is Angela’s best friend. In the first episode debuting tonight, Angela and Keisha have it out, cat-fight style.

TBS has committed to ten episodes upfront. If it does well, the network will pick up another 90. That’s the Tyler Perry formula.

I talked briefly with Smith and White at a recent Q&A session at the Museum Bar in Atlanta:

White’s take of Atlanta: “It’s like a second home. I love the culture. Just a place I’m very proud of. I feel very comfortable here. I love the fact youngsters say, ‘Yes m’aam, No m’aam.’ People treat each other very brotherly. There are real neighborhoods here. In L.A., it’s hard-pressed to find a neighborhood.”

How Smith met Perry:
“I met Tyler through Tyra Banks. She had basically suggested to him to hire me for ‘Daddy’s Little Girls.’ The rest is history.”


Smith and White have a past.
“We used to date years ago,” Smith said, long before they were acting together in Perry films. It was a few months around 1996. White recalls Smith getting stronger in her religion at the time. “I can’t compete with Jesus,” White cracked. “Let you and Jesus have your love affair. Holla at me later!” More seriously, he said, “I commended her for that. She came out this person that she is now.” They’ve since stayed friends.

Perry had no idea about their romantic past when he paired them together in “Why Did I Get Married?” “He felt like he hit the jackpot,” Smith said. “Wow, I’m intuitive!”

Smith’s wailing “Marcus! Marcus!” remains on the TV show from the film. “I am sick of saying it,” Smith said. “Sometimes I say it in my sleep. My husband says, ‘You have to chill out with this!’ ”

As they await the fate of the show, Smith is busy with a fragrance line while White has done several films including “El Gringo,” “The Philly Kid” and “Freaky Deaky.”

RATINGS UPDATE: The show drew 3.4 million viewers, a very respectable opening on a Friday night.

Michael Jai White and Tasha Smith yuk it up in front of an invited crowd at the opening party for "For Better or Worse" at the Museum Bar in November, 2011. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com

Michael Jai White and Tasha Smith yuk it up in front of an invited crowd at the opening party for "For Better or Worse" at the Museum Bar in November, 2011. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com

White and Smith pose for pictures after the Q&A at the Museum Bar.

White and Smith pose for pictures after the Q&A at the Museum Bar.

Actress Crystle Stewart was Miss USA 2008.

Actress Crystle Stewart was Miss USA 2008.

White (left) gets a birthday cake.

White (left) gets a birthday cake.

White, with co-star Kent Faulcon

White, with co-star Kent Faulcon

On TV
“Tyler Perry’s For Better or Worse,” TBS, Fridays, 10 p.m. starting Nov. 25


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By Rodney Ho, Radio & TV Talk

98 comments Add your comment

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girl 6

November 25th, 2011
3:38 pm

michael white is fine!

teen jones

November 25th, 2011
6:32 pm

I am so happy, triump for black woman all over the world. To finally be preceive realistically with brains, beauty and handsome talent men. Instead of a history of single sitcoms and interracial dramas. I so proud of Tyler Perry for his longevity in seeing something that the networks never did , that million of black women were and are desperate to be loved and appreciate unconditionally by their beautiful black men!!

teen jones

November 25th, 2011
6:40 pm

I am so happy, triump for black woman all over the world. To finally be preceive realistically with brains, beauty and handsome talented men. Instead of a history of single sitcoms and interracial dramas. I’m proud of Tyler Perry for his longevity in seeing something that the networks never did , that millions of black women were and are desperate to be loved and appreciated unconditionally by their beautiful black men. It’s no longer taboo for gorgeous black men and women love on television.

jarvis

November 25th, 2011
10:17 pm

So Madea isn’t in it at all?

Jury still out

November 25th, 2011
10:34 pm

So far not bad….
Could grow on me…

Jury still out and may stay out

November 25th, 2011
10:51 pm

the jokes are dry and needs something else other than the wife and the babyma always fighting, maybe a laugh track something …may have to grow on me

Awful

November 25th, 2011
11:04 pm

Sorry, this one is not working at all!!! Who’s writing the jokes??

tina

November 25th, 2011
11:05 pm

Sorry Tyler this one is NOT GOOD. The script is weak and the acting is weaker. Stop it with the mama baby drama…you can do better than that. Why protray black women has back stabbers and angry. There are other stories lines that will keep Black viewers interested.

tina

November 25th, 2011
11:07 pm

Teen Jones…what show were you looking at?

Daniel Burse

November 25th, 2011
11:33 pm

I liked both episodes. Not having a laugh track or live audience took a little getting used to. The characters will find themselves fullly and what the audience desires. Just look at the first few episodes of Seinfied. They figured things out about 6 shows in.

susiemc

November 25th, 2011
11:41 pm

This one ain’t gon’ make it. Loved the movie, hate this show.

Love Tyler

November 25th, 2011
11:52 pm

I watched this show with my huge family tonight and there were no mixed remarks. We all felt the show is going to have to grow on us. I am a Tasha Smith fan. I hope the show does well.

Chocolate Giddy-Up

November 25th, 2011
11:52 pm

But Black Dynamite, I SELL drugs to the community.

say what?

November 26th, 2011
12:05 am

Time for angry baby mama drama to go; the girl in no longer a baby!! Stop playing up the nonsense that keeps families apart.
And, instead of Madea making an appearance, the angry, violent, ingnant hairstylist is her stand-in. Please show grown folk behaving as if they are talking business. I doubt that TP would walk into a meeting with Oprah, and Gayle King jump up doing what his characters do. Get real.

Tunishia

November 26th, 2011
12:32 am

Mr. Peery bless. He the best and mos talnted director in world today. He write the funiest setcoms on tv write now. Cant wait to see this.

Bart

November 26th, 2011
12:36 am

Mr. White might not want to have his shirt off when Mr. Perry is on set.

KimZ'sPackage

November 26th, 2011
1:34 am

TBS? The Black Station?
TPS? Tyler Perry Station?
Sell him the station and be done with it.

samsam

November 26th, 2011
3:04 am

i actually liked both episodes and the missing laugh tracks enhanced the viewing b/c I don’t like to be cued to laugh. I found myself laughing out loud numerous times, this does not normally happens when I watch a Tyler Perry sitcom.. A few of the characters and lines need to be fined tune, but I will definitely be watching and following this show…..

The Guy

November 26th, 2011
3:25 am

Crystle Stewart is so fine, it makes my loins ache. Only reason I watched the full hour. Michael Jai White is my dude, but this is beyond a miss. It was flat-out laughable in how horrible it was. Damn, Tyler, must really have a team of sycophants around him because how could that show have been edited and people thought it was good. TBS, you’re better than this I think.

The Critic

November 26th, 2011
4:28 am

The sitcom will be fine as long as Perry doesn’t screw up with the writers and producers like he did with “Meet the Browns” and “House of Payne”. When he changed writers MTB went from funny to stupid and having all the charcters to leave the show was a bad move. That’s what made the show successful in the beginning and that is why the ratings dropped.

Myname

November 26th, 2011
5:41 am

jury Still Out, don’t hate in reading other comment it look like it all good. Go look at Last Man Standing. I like, keep up the good work. Blackman in the Cascade of I-285.

Worse!!!

November 26th, 2011
5:57 am

Very disappointed!!! Tyler God has afforded you your own studio,resources etc,and this show demonstrates you got ‘caught up in the game’ going for ‘ratings’ and the present ’status quo’ instead of being more creative and sending a ‘positive’ message to your audience. We all have problems in marriage but ‘geesh’ come on now Tyler, we see everyday folks with money who are soooo dysfuntional!!! Please give us(your audience) something better,while your window of opportunity is still ‘open’ and you want people to take you seriously!!! “Worse”…

Slim

November 26th, 2011
6:31 am

Come on people it wasn’t too bad. Please give Perry a chance. My sister & I really enjoyed it. I’m sure the next episodes will be even better! Just wait and see! Good job Tyler Perry!

"Vote for Obama cause he's black"

November 26th, 2011
7:15 am

Tyler Perry is a closeted homosexual.The women on this show wear weaves.Museum bar ? Like they are so cool doing the interview there.Lol !
So,so,trying to be white and at the same time absolutely obsessed about being black.
How about just being real ?

TylerSux

November 26th, 2011
7:50 am

This had to be the WORST show that I have ever seen from Tyler Perry! You would think that by now, he would have enough money and resources to hire great writers, and better actors. If TBS extends this show, they are showing the world that they have Sold Out to TP! When that happens I will not be watching TPS again. Sorry, but I am not going to jump on the “I like TP’s shows because he’s black and there is no else out there to watch” bandwagon! All of his movies and shows are horrible, and set our race back 100 years! Just because he’s black doesn’t mean we can’t demand better quality programming from him!

Stop the madness

November 26th, 2011
8:44 am

Complete crap. Black people will watch anything with Tyler Perry’s name on it. Reminds me of stale malt liquor on screen.

not impressed

November 26th, 2011
9:16 am

Im a TP fan, but last night show was somewhat disapponting. If I have to sit through another episode of listening to Angela yelling, I will change the channel. Just so annoying and staged. The actors seem so amature! It is insulting our intellegence to think that we would wanna watch something so dry and lacking substance!! I think all the cursing added is to boost ratings, very distatesful. Viewers are nit gona be able to relate to something that seems so unrealisc!! Stick to movies and plays and leave the sitcomes to the pro’s!!

not impressed

November 26th, 2011
9:21 am

I feel like you are putting out material so fast that it lacks quality. We need something thats gona keep us entertained, not just jump on the Tyler Perry bandwagon!!!

TR

November 26th, 2011
9:23 am

This new show is trash. TP needs to stop. He has done well but now he has ran out of story lines. Go into hybernation with Spike Lee.

GUNGA DIN

November 26th, 2011
9:33 am

where da white folks?? interesting that blacks complain about the all white shows like Friends , Big Bang Theory or How I Met Your Mother, but remain totally silent about Perrys’ all black shows.

Rose

November 26th, 2011
10:04 am

This was awful. They could have thought of something else in this time slot. So before someone says something racial. I am an african american female and the show was still awful. My sister in law is caucasion and she felt the same way.The bases were covered in my family and the votes were all the same……….thumbs down.

Keeping It Real

November 26th, 2011
10:11 am

Finds it funny that people are quick to criticize Tyler’s work. People please know Tyler doesn’t write to Spike Lee’s audience as Spike Lee doesn’t write to Tyler’s audience. Please appreciate the variety of gifts. I’ve never heard Tom Cruise’s audience ridicule Adam Sandler’s audience. #mypeople

Terri Jones

November 26th, 2011
10:13 am

Tyler, you need to take that trash off TV. Why do you think cussing and downgrading black women
is the formula to success. Enough is enough, let it go…..The show is pure ghetto with hair weaves….
Maybe your time has come………..go home and chill……

Positive Black Brother

November 26th, 2011
10:18 am

I support TP mainly because he’s a black entrepreneur and have enjoyed a lot of his work. I recorded and will record every episode to have in my archive 10 years form now ….BUT – I have to watch it again today to get into it. I feel that sometimes in an attempt to keep your name out there, you run yourself thin, I am sure/I hope that I will adjust to it.

I remember HOP/MTB came on, it took me a while, I’ll support it though

Positive Black Brother

November 26th, 2011
10:21 am

On a side note, still kiNDA SCRATCHING my head about the reason he is casting KK in his upcoming movie – “because she has over a million followers” and he’d like to reach those viewers.

montrise

November 26th, 2011
10:41 am

I thought the show was good :) . Can’t wait to see the next episodes.

Mechelle Dzoole

November 26th, 2011
10:41 am

Tyler Perry just doesn’t get it. He said on the TJMS that the show would portray well-to-do African-Americans in a positive light. He didn’t live up to his promise because among other things, two sisters got into a fight over some “baby dadd” crap. Cliff and Claire Huxtible, would have never been involved in such. I guess it’s Tyler’s frame-of-reference that stiffles him from knowing how well-to-do Afriacn-Americans truly behave. None of the professionals that I know behave in the manner that was portrayed on the new show, which does no more for the image of black people than House of Payne or Meet the Browns.

Just dam

November 26th, 2011
10:43 am

3 min into the show you can see it’s clearly the writing you have seen some of his best work already.. he should have tried or show us a little of what, when and how with the kids and why start of the show like that with an issue or drama 5 min into the show like that or a typical movie of show kinder build up to that level that we witness last night and that part of her yelling and walking up the stair like that sum up the show to me I looK at my wife, she look at me an we both shook our head cause if the house isnt burning down i wish you would call me yelling like that while im in shower over some thing like that come now……Im just saying. SMH.

donald

November 26th, 2011
11:22 am

i saw you set the car on fire

Pandora

November 26th, 2011
11:37 am

I watched Tyler Perry yesterday. This is a decent show. I really like it. I pray it does well. :) I love ALL of Tyler Perry stuff!

Pandora

November 26th, 2011
11:40 am

For those of you that are comparing Tyler Perry show to The Cosby Show is living an illusion! Things that happened in his show HAPPEN IS REAL LIFE!!! The Cosby Show was VERY PHONY!!! Tyler Perry shows are more real than Bill Cosby shows EVER WERE!!!! GET OVER IT!

mary

November 26th, 2011
11:41 am

good show—-but needs more comedy and the “laugh track” please—

Mischell

November 26th, 2011
11:43 am

I could not wait to see other peoples comments to make sure that i was not being to hard on tyler, but this was plain, awful! I know he can do better. It sounds like he does not have people around him that will tell him the truth because i am not a film maker, producer etc…but this is not the better this show is the worse!!! and i seems like his “people” would have advised him…this is not what we want to see!

anthony

November 26th, 2011
11:43 am

Sorry, I agree that this show could be much better. Why not focus on the “struggle” that Marcus and his had to overcome. Having this baby mama drama is just not working for me. Sure the woman are beautiful, but Angela is the only real one. The other two have no real acting chops, nor do they seem to have the inner experience to relate to what it takes to support our men of today. Sorry this show has taken this direction.

This is Mrs.Norman Maine

November 26th, 2011
12:04 pm

They seem like lovely people and they are both good actors. I just think they can do so much better than Tyler Perry. It breaks my heart that he is the only who is consistenly providing acting jobs for African-American actors. I wish the rest of Black Hollywood would step up and provide some quality entertainment but then again, some of us don’t want that, do we?

rose

November 26th, 2011
12:12 pm

come on people it’s only the first two episodes. Stop being so quick to judge. Baby mama drama is something that happens not only with blacks, but white, spanish ect….however if you were watching,the two women are trying to end their drama. But there will always be animosity……lets keeps it real…..Also it is not a full fledged comedy…I hope it goes more into a drama then comedy……

Honey

November 26th, 2011
12:41 pm

I am a black female and I give this show 2 thumbs down.

Lolli

November 26th, 2011
12:53 pm

I was totally disappointed with the show, starting with the young lady referring to her stepmother as a “ho.” This show totally portrayed Blacks in a negative light and if the writing doesn’t get better, I’ll be glad to see it taken off the air.

oofa

November 26th, 2011
1:20 pm

I thought the title was “Tyler Perry’s Going Back to the Trough”? When did it switch to “For Better or Worse”?