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Briefs: Tyler Perry’s last Madea play on BET+, ‘MacGyver’ showrunner axed, Byron Allen wants CNN

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Tyler Perry in 2018 announced he was retiring his fictional character Madea for good after two decades of serving him well.
Madea, while well known in films, actually started on the stage. Perry honored Madea with "Madea's Farewell Play," which was filmed during his final tour before the pandemic began and will air on BET+, the streaming service starting Thursday, August 27. 
"Tyler Perry's Madea burst onto the scene and entered our hearts over 20 years ago and we are honored to share this final stage performance with BET+ subscribers," said Devin Griffin, general manager of BET+. 
Madea, the gun-toting matriarch, drives a couple of hours to a rural town in Georgia to be with her loving family. Madea's great-grandson is graduating law school, and the entire family is gathering to celebrate the occasion.
The graduation party is off to a joyous start until Darlene's ex-husband shows up uninvited. Sparks immediately begin to fly, as Madea, in the fashion of life coach Iyanla Vanzant, begins to fix everyone's life.
The play, Perry's 21st, arrived at the Fox Theatre last year in April. 
The final movie, "Madea's Family Funeral," came out in March 2019 and generated $73.3 million in domestic gross.

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Lucas Till, from Marietta, stars as MacGyver on the CBS drama of the same name, shot in Atlanta and guaranteed a fourth season in 2019-20.
Lucas Till, from Marietta, stars as MacGyver on the CBS drama of the same name, shot in Atlanta and guaranteed a fourth season in 2019-20.

Peter Lenkov, the lead executive producer of CBS’s “MacGyver,” which shoots in Atlanta, has lost his job, accused of creating an abusive atmosphere on set.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Lenkov was the target of multiple investigations by CBS TV Studios after employees complained he was difficult to work with on the sets of "Hawaii Five-O" and "MacGyver." The publication said Lenkov was accused of favoring male employees over female employees, commenting about women's looks and being dismissive of  female and minority writers.

CBS said in a statement that “we will continue to evolve our practices with continued focus on building trust with all who work on our sets. Every complaint is taken seriously, every claim is investigated, and when evidence is clear that policies were violated and values not upheld, we take decisive action.”

Monica Macer has taken over as showrunner for “MacGyver,” which is a remake of the original 1980s/1990s hit. The new version stars Marietta-born Lucas Till as the resourceful Angus MacGyver.

Lenkov also lost his job overseeing the CBS remake of “Magnum P.I.”

He released this statement: "Now is the time to listen and I am listening. It’s difficult to hear that the working environment I ran was not the working environment my colleagues deserved, and for that, I am deeply sorry. I accept responsibility for what I am hearing and am committed to doing the work that is required to do better and be better."

Season four of “MacGyver” was cut short due to the virus. Normally, the show would be gearing up for season five right now but the pandemic has delayed its start. It’s unclear when the show will be able to get back into production in Atlanta.

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October 5, 2019 Atlanta -  Media mogul and owner of The Weather Chanel Byron Allen spoke to the AJC on the red carpet for the opening of Tyler Perry Studios Saturday, October 5, 2019 in Atlanta. Perry acquired the property of Fort McPherson to build a movie studio on 330 acres of land. (Ryon Horne / Ryon.Horne@ajc.com)
October 5, 2019 Atlanta - Media mogul and owner of The Weather Chanel Byron Allen spoke to the AJC on the red carpet for the opening of Tyler Perry Studios Saturday, October 5, 2019 in Atlanta. Perry acquired the property of Fort McPherson to build a movie studio on 330 acres of land. (Ryon Horne / Ryon.Horne@ajc.com)

Byron Allen, the Black media mogul, owns Atlanta-based The Weather Channel but he has set his sights on more.

He recently told the Hollywood Reporter that "I'd love to own CNN... and I will." Of course that means he'd have to buy AT&T but he is ambitious.

The former stand-up comic now owns 15 local TV stations, 60 syndicated shows and several other cable networks and has distributed films such as “47 Meters Down” and ‘Hostiles.”

Allen, as one of the few Blacks running a media company, told the publication the difficulties he had early on raising funds in the early 1990s into the 2000s.

"African Americans don't have access to capital," Allen said. "It's amazing that for the first 15 to 20 years of my company, I couldn't get a single bank loan."

Fortunately, he was able to raise $300 million to buy The Weather Channel in 2018.

He also filed a lawsuit in 2014 against several cable operators who resisted running his networks, citing an 1866 civil rights law enacted to ensure that newly freed slaves had a pathway to economic inclusion. He ultimately settled with most of the companies though Charter has held out.

"I happen to be extremely fortunate in a situation where I can spend tens of millions on litigation over a five-year period and be very comfortable," Allen told the publication.

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