God and Tyler Perry vs. Hollywood

The big studios have sneered at his movies, but the rising media mogul is laughing all the way to the altar and the bank

Perry Hagopain / Contour / Getty

Tyler Perry

After the curtain calls for his 2004 theater piece, Meet the Browns--one of the strange comedy-musical-melodramas that have made Tyler Perry a hero to the older black Christian community--the author-director came out onstage to talk to his devoted audience. He confided that he'd been asked to produce a TV comedy series but turned it down because it couldn't be religious. "Did you know you can't say 'Jesus' in a sitcom?" he said, to murmurs of disapproval from the faithful. "They told me that, and I was like, You gotta be kiddin' me. If you don't want my God here, you don't...