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Americans Not Feeling a Strong Economy; A New Ring on the Business of Beyonce; The Business of Being Tyler Perry

Aired December 14, 2013 - 09:30   ET


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: An economy healing and growing. So why are so many Americans feeling left out?

I'm Christine Romans. This is YOUR MONEY.

Christiane Amanpour and Candy Crowley now are going to hash it out over brunch and you have a set at our table. We're going to start your Saturday morning smart. On the menu this morning, income inequality.


CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Whenever I see consumer confidence begin to fade and the right track, wrong track. Do you think countries going the right direction and wrong direction, when that starts to fade, the rest of the economy seems to fade with it because people sit at home and don't buy anything.

ROMANS: You're right. You're right. So I look at car sales that have been great. And economists at the car companies saying things are doing better again. And I look at the stock market. And it looks great. And I think while there really are these two Americas, this big chunk of America was going sideways and these people who have a job and have money, who are moving up again.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We know that there are airport workers and fast food workers and nurse assistants and retail sales people who work their tails off and are still living at or above poverty.


ROMANS: And who is the president talking to? You know, all of these people vote, right? So who over the next three years is he talking to and who can he really help? Or can he, because presidents get far too much credit and too much blame for the economy.

CROWLEY: I think that last is true. You get credit when probably you don't deserve it and you get blame when probably you don't deserve it. There is a lot of cyclical things that happened in the economy. I think to me --

(CROSSTALK) ROMANS: Because you can't control his message. And the message --

CROWLEY: He can. And to me, the message ought to be that the people were cutting back on their Christmas list. We're going for -- and then all of a sudden, what we're hearing is that Christmas sales were a little off. These people going -- people are still afraid of the economy.

Now you can't talk the economy up when it's not. But clearly people are still feeling that and he talked about the middle class. I hate that because I don't know a politician anywhere that doesn't talk about the middle class because everybody thinks they're middle class unless you're, you know --



CROWLEY: You know -- yes. Unless you're stratospheric, everybody thinks they're kind of middle class. So it's an easy thing for politicians. They want to help the middle class. But there is a -- there are people who are falling out of the middle class. And to me, those are the folks going, I can't spend a lot on Christmas this year. And that to me is where that message needs to go.

AMANPOUR: So you tell -- you tell us. You're the expert. Where is this going from overseas looking at the United States? People are quite envious of the -- of the growth of the economy. They are a little green shoots, as they like to say in Europe.

ROMANS: You're right.

AMANPOUR: But it's still pretty painful.

ROMANS: I think the economy getting better in this country. I -- I really think it is but I think it's benefiting the top. I mean, the top 1 percent of households in the past three years have taken home 95 percent of the income gains. You know, that's almost everything. So when it's coming up --

CROWLEY: Is that market? Or is that --

ROMANS: That's stocks, that's housing, that's earnings.

CROWLEY: So it's unearned --

ROMANS: It's a whole -- the whole pie is going only to the top.

AMANPOUR: And explain why that doesn't trickle down.

ROMANS: Well, you know, you keep hearing about how these big companies are the job creators. But I'm not seeing them create the big numbers of jobs. I'm seeing mid-sized and small companies create the jobs. And they're much more fickle. They're much more likely to have to lay off again if something happens. And for some reason these big companies, maybe because they can make good profits and have a lot of money in the bank without having to hire a lot of people, and that's what kind of holding things back.

I never count down the U.S. economy however. Never, never, never. Because it takes one or two interesting innovations. We have the best legal system in the world. We have the best university system in the world. Other countries still trying to model themselves of off us. You know they want their middle class still to be as powerful as ours.

AMANPOUR: You need to keep mindful of keeping the university system as high as it always was.

ROMANS: Well, you think the rest of the world wants to do that?

AMANPOUR: They still want to come here. Many foreign students, obviously. But now you're seeing them actually go --the United States used to have a whopping great share of --

ROMANS: Right.

AMANPOUR: Of foreign students coming to universities here. Now there are U.S. franchises -- university franchises abroad. A lot of people going there. But people looking elsewhere as well.

ROMANS: Well, what big CEOs like Google's Eric Schmidt recently told me was the American immigration system --


ROMANS: -- hopes that outflow of people come here and get their education, they'd like to start a company here, raise money here, can't so they go back where they do have a great lifestyle if they want to go back to India or China or Singapore or someplace else, and start a business. And so that's a problem for us.

CROWLEY: I don't -- I mean, I am with you. I absolutely believe in the U.S. economy and, you know, capitalism. I think that the big argument is going to be how do we -- you know, the Republicans aren't going to say tax these people more and let's redistribute it. You know, the current where we use. So you know, how do you get those jobs?

The president talks all the time. We've got to create more jobs. Republicans are on the Senate floor and House floor were going, we really ought to be concentrating on jobs. But that seems to me --


ROMANS: That's like saying you love your country.

CROWLEY: As far as it ever gets.


ROMANS: How do you create those jobs? That's the question. But also, how do people get by who have jobs but don't earn enough to live comfortably? Those on the right say government has to get out of the way. Those on the left say government should build a bigger safety net. And the partisan bickering is only going to get louder and uglier as we head into an election year.

Coming up, this man doesn't work in a plush Silicon Valley office. No, he doesn't even have a home. He was exactly who what brilliant tech entrepreneur was looking for if only he could learn computer coding.


BILL WEIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This guy Patrick walks up and says, can I talk to you? What goes through your head?


WEIR: What did you think he wanted?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I didn't do anything, man. You got the wrong guy.




ROMANS: All right. So Beyonce has had a very busy year. She was at the president's inauguration singing. She performed at the Super Bowl. But no new albums. But she wasn't going to let 2013 end without putting a ring on it.

The platinum-selling mega-star surprised the music world. She dropped a self-titled album that (INAUDIBLE) with 14 songs, 17 new music videos on iTunes. Early Friday, out of the blue.


BEYONCE, SINGER: I felt like, I don't want anybody to give the message when my record is coming out. I just want this to come out when it's ready and from me to my fans.


ROMANS: No star studded press event to kick off the album? No live concert at a football stadium to break the news? Is this the new normal for the music industry?

CNN's Nischelle Turner is here to help figure this out.

She dropped this out of the blue. And I think iTunes, like, crashed because there was so much interest in it.

NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: Indeed. And, you know, if you followed Beyonce, she's actually been giving us little hints all year. She's been giving us little nuggets, she'll release a little something here. She's had this $50 million reportedly deal with Pepsi in the commercials. She's been debuting new songs that, "I'm a Grown Woman."

ROMANS: Right.

TURNER: that song is on the album if you remember that from the commercial.


TURNER: So she's been giving us hints all year. But nobody saw this coming, Christine. We really didn't.

ROMANS: So is this her completely controlling her image or is this something that's organic? I mean, social media took it over like it was some organic thing. You know, that everyone is in on Beyonce's last-minute decision to drop those album.

TURNER: Well, Beyonce is one of the nicest celebrities that you will ever meet. But make no mistake about it, she's about her business. And she is a business. This move completely controlled. Believe that because she knows every step she's doing. She knows when she's doing it and why she's doing it.

I will say, though, her and Jay-Z have got this thing about releasing their music in new ways. And a lot of artists say these days, we can't do it the normal way because people don't buy CDs anymore and the music industry is suffering. So we have to find different ways for people to get our music. Jay-Z did it when he released "Magna Carta Holy Grail."



ROMANS: That was --

TURNER: For free.

ROMANS: Right. And that was -- you had to download it on your Samsung.

TURNER: Right. On your Samsung. And so you got that for free. This -- for her, you don't get it for free. It's $15.99 on iTunes. But no promotion. Nothing. Although she's getting the promotion on the backside. Because we're all talking about it right now.

ROMANS: Absolutely. You know, but also it's so interesting, too, because he's got a sports agency.


ROMANS: Right? Disrupting the sports world this week. It's got the -- it's got baseball and Seattle Mariners signing, what, second baseman Robinson Cano to nine-year $240 million contract.

TURNER: Right.

ROMANS: How -- I think they're intent on turning every industry they touch on their head.

TURNER: Well, "Forbes" named them this year in September the most profitable celebrities there. They make the most money as a couple of any other celebrities. $95 million between the two of them last year. That's a heck of a lot of money.


ROMANS: Don't move.

TURNER: OK. Because our beats overlapped this week. In a couple of different ways. Not just -- not just Beyonce, but also Tyler Perry. You've seen his name everywhere. Movies, television, even on stage. He's got another film hitting theaters this weekend.

Nischelle, let's take a look at the business of building an empire from the ground up.


ROMANS (voice-over): Madea is back. Starring in "A Madea Christmas." And the man behind the makeup is expecting yet another hit.


ROMANS: Tyler Perry built this entertainment empire from scratch. He does it all. Writes, acts, directs, produces. And he makes money all along the way. He brought home $78 million in the last year.

Perry's life could be a movie of its own. The opening act, a tough childhood in a poor New Orleans neighborhood. A natural entertainer, but his first play was a flop.

PERRY: Ended up, you know, out on the streets, sleeping in my car.

ROMANS: His second act came in 1998. A second chance in the theater. "I Know I've Been Changed" was a hit. He took his plays on the road. And the Madea franchise was born.

PERRY: We would travel the country setting box office records in all of these theaters from the Kodak to the Beacon in New York.

Well, what I can't seem to figure out is why you're here.

ROMANS: In 2005, Madea hit the big screen. Perry made "Diary of a Mad Black Woman" for $5 million. The movie earned 10 times that at the box office. Since then, more than a dozen movies grossing nearly $700 million.

PERRY: Do you understand the words that are coming out of my mouth?

ROMANS: He owns a major film and TV studio. The first African- American to do so. $200 million. TBS for 100 episodes of "House of Payne." Then "Meet the Browns." Now Perry unites with his friend and fellow media royalty an exclusive with the Oprah Winfrey Network. He's directing three hit series.

PERRY: That's power, baby.

ROMANS: And has been credited with making the new network profitable.

PERRY: I'm going to keep working and keep working, and keep working.

ROMANS: Tyler Perry is now worth more than $400 million. The business of being Tyler Perry is self-made with a Hollywood ending.

PERRY: I have everything that I want in this life. You know, I'm happy.


ROMANS: He has a formula that absolutely works. How -- what -- how does he do it?

TURNER: Well, he does a couple of things. First of all, everything you see Tyler Perry does, it's going to say "Tyler Perry Presents."


TURNER: He puts his name on everything. That's step one for him. He also knows his audience. He caters to his audience. And he doesn't take the black audience for granted, which Hollywood did for such a long time. He courted, cajoled like really caressed the African- American audience. And that has -- and they followed him religiously.

His films also, too, if you watch every one of his films, they all have a religious aspect to it. He doesn't stray from that. He doesn't get away from it. He sticks with it. It was -- it's what works with him. And it's what his audience loves. Other people now started to take notice. Hollywood takes notice. And they're not taking the African-American dollar for granted as much anymore because of Tyler Perry.

ROMANS: Well, he is certainly -- he has hit, struck a nerve.


ROMANS: Struck gold. Whatever you want to say. He certainly knows what he is doing.

TURNER: He sure does.


ROMANS: Thanks a lot, Nischelle Turner.


ROMANS: All right, coming up, an owner under fire for his team's name. A coach that reportedly wants to get fired. And a star quarterback benched for the rest of the season. But none of those compare to the almost unavoidable PR blunder the Redskins made this week. I'm going to tell you what it is next.


ROMANS: A savior comes to Washington, a hot start then crippling dysfunction. The public is furious. Not sure who to blame.

Yes, sounds like a typical day in the nation's capital. Here's "The Score."

Superstar quarterback Robert Griffin III will be on the Washington Redskins bench for the rest of the season even as the team's owner pays him millions and even as tickets to the game, just like this one tweeted by "Washington Post's" sports blogger, Dan Steinberg, feature the quarterback's picture.

It's a billion-dollar business with a management crisis. Who will win the power struggle, CEO, coach, star employee? We know who loses anytime we have D.C. dysfunction. The public. In this case suffering Redskin fans.

It's got to be the shoes. Michael Jordan's mythical flew game shoes from the 1997 NBA Finals sold at auction this week, $104,000. This according to Gray Flannel Auctions. The signed sneaks put up for sale by a former ball boy who asked for the shoes before the game and even got Jordan to sign them.

Jordan scored 39 points in game five while battling flu-like symptoms. Bulls won game six, clinching the series.

A woman taking the wheel at General Motors. Next month, 33-year GM veteran Mary Barra will become the first female CEO of a major U.S. automaker. She'll be at the top of an industry still dominated by men with women making up just 21 percent.

And a new boss isn't the only big news for GM. Give me 60 seconds on the clock. It's "Money Time."


ROMANS (voice-over): Taxpayers are now out of the car business. The government sold the last of its stake in General Motors, whittling a nearly $50 billion bailout down to a $10 billion loss. The sale closes the books on the 2009 auto bailout.

Buy a house, kill a tree? The average mortgage application now 500 pages long. Five times longer than just a few years ago. Blame it on tougher disclosure requirements after the housing crash.

Want some stock with that movie popcorn? AMC Theaters is going public. Some loyal customers will get a chance to buy shares at the same price big investors do.

Turns out most Americans are not ready for cell phones on airplanes. As U.S. regulators debate changing the law, a new poll finds 59 percent would prefer to keep cell phones silenced.

Health-conscious consumers are ditching their diet drinks. Spending on diet colas fell 7 percent in November compared with a year ago.


ROMANS: All right. Finally I bet you have a few of these at home. These are about to be extinct. Light bulb manufacturers are going to stop making the traditional 40 and 60-watt light bulbs in the new year. Right now, they are still the most popular bulbs in the country, but guess what? They don't meet government mandated efficiency standards. They are being replaced with energy saving options.

Thanks for spending your Saturday morning with us.

Coming up on a brand new YOUR MONEY at 2:00 p.m. Eastern this afternoon, exactly a year ago, 26 students and teachers were gunned down at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Four days later, a $20 billion private equity firm pledged to get out of the gun business. Remember? Now some Newtown parents are frustrated.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was a pledge that was made, and if it was something they weren't going to honor or stand behind, it shouldn't have been made.


ROMANS: Why hasn't the company that made that weapon used at Newtown being sold? The promise that was made. Join us at 2:00 p.m. Eastern.

And coming up at the top of the hour, tonight, six college athletes gather in New York to find out who will be awarded the Heisman Trophy for the nation's top college football player. One contender, Alabama quarterback, AJ McCarron, already known for two national championship rings, but is a close bond with a particularly fellow student off the field makes him special?


AJ MCCARRON, QUARTERBACK, UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA: I was holding tears right back then, just hearing the story, and him having cerebral palsy, and how it happened to him.


ROMANS: That's next.