Last week ,the casts of both Tyler Perry and Oprah Winfrey’s newest lineup, “The Haves & Have Nots” and the new sitcom “Love Thy Neighbor” were presented in a vast media setting in Beverly Hills’ prestigious SLS Hotel. The new joint venture comes as a product of two entertainment masterminds joining together to produce original programming, tailored to a growing audience at the Oprah Winfrey Network.
“The Haves and Have Nots” is a dramatic scripted presentation written, directed and produced by Tyler Perry, featuring the lives of the Cryer family, who represent “The Haves.” The Cryers are not only wealthy, but appear to be rich with family secrets and schemes. As the story unfolds within the mansion walls, the family that represents the other side of the title, “The Have Nots” deals with their own web of deception. It appears that money, power and respect represent both sides of the game in this dramatic plot. Fresh off the set of “Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas,” Tika Sumpter (“Sparkle”) stars as Candace Young, the daughter of Hanna, the housekeeper of the Cryer family. A determined woman, Candace holds an inner thirst for a richer lifestyle and will do what she needs to get what she wants. “She’s not trying to be someone she’s not, she’s just trying to be someone” according to Sumpter, during an intimate press interview at the OWN properties.
Sumpter is no stranger to dramatic roles in daytime television. She starred as Layla Williamson in television’s “One Life to Live” for over five years. During her interview, Sumpter commented on a comparison of her character in “The Haves & Have Nots” and the dramatic role of Kerry Washington as Olivia Pope in ABC’s “Scandal”. “Olivia Pope is on her dream board,” says Sumpter of her character, Candace Young. “What I love is that Kerry busted through the door for other people to have the opportunity to lead a show.” Sumpter tapped into the spirit of her former co-star, the late Whitney Houston, who’s early advice is relevant for the Tyler-haters that exist among viewers.“If you’re gonna read the positive reviews, you gotta read the negative ones too.”
In conjunction with the new scripted dramatic show, Perry opens up a new comedy called “Love Thy Neighbor,” with a closer lens on Ms. Hattie Mae Love (Patrice Lovely), a beloved character from his successful stage plays. The show stars Kendra C. Johnson (Phat Girlz, The Game) as Linda, Hattie Mae’s daughter on “Love They Neighbor.” Linda prides herself for raising her son Danny (Andre Hall), who might be characterized as a gentleman and a mama’s boy, while dealing with her philandering husband. While the on set mother-son relationship thrives between Linda and Danny, the two actors vibe like kin-folk off screen as well. Johnson loved being cast in the role of Linda, a loving mother, mostly because she is that in real life with her own college-aged daughter. She expressed her thankfulness for being able to serve as a role model through her work with Tyler Perry, and also through her philanthropic efforts as the Empowerment Editor for Plus Model Magazine, which celebrates the fabulousness of curvy women in America. Her previous work in acting included serving as a stand-in and body double for Queen Latifah, an opportunity in which she learned both sides of the camera. During her interview, Johnson was a woman always on the verge of tears, thankful for the opportunity to be a part of Perry and Winfrey’s new age in comedy.
Other newcomers that will be a part of the OWN experience include:
“The Haves & the Have Nots'”
Aaron O’Connell as “Wyatt”
Angela Robinson as “Veronica”
Eva Tamargo as “Celine”
Gavin Houston as “Jefferey”
Crystal Fox as “Hanna”
Jaclyn Betham as “Amanda”
Jonathan Schneider as “Jim”
Peter Parros as “David”