Byron Allen[2] (born Byron Allen Folks on April 22, 1961)[3] is an American businessman, film and television producer, and comedian. He is the founder of the U.S. media company Entertainment Studios, which has interests in television production, broadcasting, film production, and digital media.

Byron Allen
Byron Allen Folks

(1961-04-22) April 22, 1961 (age 63)
Occupation(s)Media Executive
Employer(s)Allen Media Group
Entertainment Studios
TitleFounder, chairman and CEO[1]
Jennifer Lucas
(m. 2007)
Comedy career
MediumStand-up, television
Years active1975–present
GenresObservational comedy
Subject(s)Everyday life, American culture

Born in Detroit and later moving to Los Angeles, he initially pursued a career in stand-up comedy. After an appearance on The Tonight Show, Allen began to expand into television work, including becoming a host for NBC's Real People. In 1993, Allen established what would later become known as Entertainment Studios.

Early life and education


Allen was born in Detroit, growing up there until 1968 when he moved with his mother after her divorce to Los Angeles.[3] His interest in show business began during his childhood when he accompanied his mother, Carolyn Folks,[4] to NBC Studios in Burbank (where she worked as a publicist).[5]

At age 14, Allen put together his first stand-up routine and began appearing on amateur night at comedy clubs throughout the Los Angeles area.[5] Allen attended high school at Fairfax High School in Los Angeles and college at the University of Southern California.[6]

Professional career


Comedian Jimmie Walker saw Allen's stand-up act and invited the 14-year-old comedian to join his comedy writing team alongside promising young comedians Jay Leno and David Letterman. In 1979 at the age of 18, Allen made his television debut on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, becoming the youngest comedian to ever perform on the show;[7] he used the appearance to learn more about the television industry.[8]

Following his appearance on The Tonight Show, NBC cast Allen as a reporter for its series Real People—his first role on a network prime time program.[8] Allen co-wrote and co-starred in the 1988 CBS television film Case Closed,[8][9] hosted the syndicated late-night talk show The Byron Allen Show from 1989 to 1992,[8] and toured as an opening act for musicians such as Dolly Parton, Gladys Knight, Lionel Richie, and The Pointer Sisters.[8]

In 1993, Allen established a production company known as CF Entertainment, which would be devoted to producing low-cost non-fiction television programming;[10][11] its first program would be the syndicated talk show Entertainers with Byron Allen, which featured interviews between Allen and celebrities. The interviews were filmed at hotel press junkets for upcoming films, allowing him to produce the show at a relatively low cost by leveraging equipment set up by the studio for use by the media. Allen distributed the program under a bartered model, in which it would be offered to stations at no cost, with revenue sharing on advertising sales.[8] The business model was not initially successful, resulting in Allen's home facing multiple foreclosures, and at one point losing telephone service—requiring him to conduct business via a payphone.[8]

The company was renamed Entertainment Studios in 2003.[11] In 2012, Allen began forays into scripted programming with the sitcoms The First Family and Mr. Box Office.[12][13][14] Later in the decade, Entertainment Studios began to pursue various acquisitions, including film distributor Freestyle Releasing,[15] TheGrio,[16] The Weather Channel,[17][18] an equity stake in Sinclair Broadcast Group's acquisition of the Fox Sports Networks,[19] and broadcast television stations.[20] By October 2022, the company was valued at over $4.5 billion.[21]

In February 2022, Allen made a bid to buy the Denver Broncos of the National Football League.[22] Allen was ultimately outbid by a group led by S. Robson Walton.[23][24]

In January 2024, Allen made a $14.3 billion bid for Paramount Global. In April 2023 he had unsuccessfully bid about $18.5 billion for the company per an unnamed source familiar with the situation. Also in 2023, Allen had made an unsuccessful bid of about $3 billion for Paramount’s BET Media Group.[25]



In 2018, Allen was selected for the Bloomberg 50 as one of "the people in business, entertainment, finance, politics, technology and science whose 2018 accomplishments were particularly noteworthy".[26]

He was also selected for the 100 Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs at the Goldman Sachs Builders & Innovators Summit 2018, and he was honored by The Salvation Army and the Los Angeles Metropolitan advisory board at the Salvation Army's 11th annual Christmas Kettle luncheon.[27]

In January 2019, Allen was a recipient of National Association of Television Program Executives's 16th Annual Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Awards,[28] presented during the annual NATPE Miami Marketplace & Conference. Allen received the 2019 Whitney Young Award at the 46th annual Los Angeles Urban League Awards dinner.[29]

In February 2023, the African American Student Union of the Harvard Business School presented Allen with its inaugural "Legendary Honor".[30]

Personal life


Allen married TV producer Jennifer Lucas in 2007.[31] The couple have three children.[32][33][34] Allen is on the Motion Picture & Television Fund Board of Governors.[35]

Allen has residences in Aspen, Maui, Los Angeles, and New York City. In 2022, he bought a two-home compound in Beverly Hills, California from Jeffrey Skoll for $22 million,[36] and a mansion in Malibu, California, previously owned by Tamara Gustavson for $100 million.[21][37]


  1. ^ "Byron Allen's Allen Media Group Acquires Black News Channel". Deadline. July 20, 2022. Retrieved July 24, 2022.
  2. ^ Kearn, Rebekah (December 27, 2012). "Comics Say Producer Byron Allen Is No Joke". Courthouse News Service. Archived from the original on April 23, 2020. Retrieved April 23, 2020.
  3. ^ a b "Byron Allen: Former Detroiter made a name for himself in television…independently". Michigan Chronicle. April 23, 2013. Archived from the original on June 11, 2020. Retrieved June 11, 2020.
  4. ^ Marich, Robert. "Byron Allen Is Still 'Very Acquisitive' After Transformative Year". Variety. Archived from the original on March 26, 2020. Retrieved April 23, 2020.
  5. ^ a b Johnson, Allan. "Byron Allen Followed Destiny (and Carson) into Late Night TV". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on October 19, 2016 – via Orlando Sentinel.
  6. ^ "Byron Allen's Entertainment Education Came From the Giants at NBC". Variety. October 20, 2021. Retrieved July 24, 2022.
  7. ^ "How Entertainment Studios Chairman Byron Allen Grew His Media Empire". CSQ Magazine. November 14, 2010. Retrieved July 24, 2022.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g Appleford, Steve (August 22, 2022). "How Byron Allen Got the Last Laugh". Los Angeles. Retrieved March 7, 2023.
  9. ^ Shirley, Don (April 19, 1988). "Television Reviews : 'Case Closed': Cop Story That Can't Find the Beat". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 30, 2015.
  10. ^ Busch, Anita (October 22, 2015). "Byron Allen's Entertainment Studios Acquires Indie Freestyle Releasing". Deadline. Retrieved October 3, 2017.
  11. ^ a b Albiniak, Paige (December 12, 2003). "CF Entertainment Gets New Name". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved October 5, 2019.
  12. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (May 21, 2012). "Byron Allen's Entertainment Studios Clears Syndicated Sitcom Block For Fall '12 Launch". Deadline. Retrieved October 12, 2017.
  13. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (May 3, 2012). "Comedy Series Starring Bill Bellamy Eying 100-Episode Order, Fall Launch". Deadline. Retrieved March 7, 2023.
  14. ^ Block, Alex Ben (March 28, 2012). "Byron Allen Casts New Syndicated Comedy 'First Family'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 7, 2023.
  15. ^ Busch, Anita (October 22, 2015). "Byron Allen's Entertainment Studios Acquires Indie Freestyle Releasing". Deadline. Retrieved October 3, 2017.
  16. ^ Evans, Greg (June 15, 2016). "Byron Allen's Entertainment Studios Acquires TheGrio, African-American Focused Digital News Platform". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved December 27, 2016.
  17. ^ Andreeva, Nellie; Fleming, Mike (March 22, 2018). "Byron Allen's Entertainment Studios Acquires The Weather Channel TV Network For $300 Million". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 22, 2018.
  18. ^ Albiniak, Paige (March 22, 2018). "Byron Allen Acquires The Weather Group in $300 Million Deal". Broadcasting & Cable. Archived from the original on March 22, 2018. Retrieved March 22, 2018.
  19. ^ Littleton, Cynthia (May 3, 2019). "Sinclair Clinches Disney-Regional Sports Networks Deal, Byron Allen Joins as Partner". Variety. Retrieved May 5, 2019.
  20. ^ Littleton, Cynthia (May 6, 2019). "Byron Allen Expands Into Broadcasting, Buys 4 TV Stations for $165 Million". Variety. Retrieved May 6, 2019.
  21. ^ a b Brown, Evan Nicole (October 12, 2022). "Billionaire Byron Allen Makes History With Most Expensive Home Purchase by an African American in the U.S." The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 7, 2023.
  22. ^ "Byron Allen says the NFL needs him to be an owner as he prepares bid for Broncos". FOX31 Denver. February 12, 2022. Retrieved February 18, 2022.
  23. ^ "Broncos and Walton-Penner family enter into a purchase and sale agreement". (Press release). June 7, 2022. Retrieved June 8, 2022.
  24. ^ O’HALLORAN, Ryan (June 7, 2022). "Broncos enter into purchase agreement with Walton-Penner family for record $4.65 billion sale price". The Denver Post. Retrieved June 8, 2022.
  25. ^ Toonkel, Jessica, and Gareth Vipers, "Allen Media Group Makes $14.3 Billion Offer for Paramount Global", Wall Street Journal, January 31, 2024. Retrieved 2024-01-31. (subscription required)
  26. ^ "The Bloomberg 50 > Byron Allen". Bloomberg Businessweek. Archived from the original on March 26, 2020. Retrieved February 20, 2020.
  27. ^ "11th Annual Christmas Kettle Luncheon Honoree". The Salvation Army Southern California. n.d. Archived from the original on July 28, 2020. Retrieved March 18, 2019.
  28. ^ "16th Annual Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Awards To Honor Byron Allen, Mara Brock Akil, Robert Greenblatt, Rita Moreno, and Henry Winkler – NATPE". Retrieved March 18, 2021.
  29. ^ "Byron Allen reveals why his award from LA Urban League is especially personal". TheGrio. April 19, 2019. Retrieved March 18, 2021.
  30. ^ Pedersen, Erik (March 2, 2023). "Media Mogul Byron Allen Slams Rise Of Antisemitism: "Work With The People Who've Shown You The Love"". Deadline. Retrieved March 7, 2023.
  31. ^ Wihlborg, Ulrica (September 1, 2007). "Talk Show Host Byron Allen Marries TV Producer". People. Archived from the original on March 1, 2020. Retrieved March 1, 2020.
  32. ^ Wihlborg, Ulrica (September 26, 2008). "Talk Show Host Byron Allen & Wife Welcome a Girl". People. Archived from the original on July 28, 2020. Retrieved March 1, 2020.
  33. ^ "Byron Allen Welcomes Daughter". People. April 8, 2010. Archived from the original on March 1, 2020. Retrieved May 23, 2014.
  34. ^ "Byron Allen Welcomes Son Lucas Byron". People. December 12, 2012. Archived from the original on March 1, 2020. Retrieved March 1, 2020.
  35. ^ "About Us". Motion Picture & Television Fund. Retrieved February 4, 2021.
  36. ^ Bowman, Wendy (March 25, 2022). "Byron Allen Pays $32 Million for Side-by-Side Homes in Beverly Hills". DIRT. Retrieved March 7, 2023.
  37. ^ Clarke, Katherine (October 10, 2022). "Malibu Mansion Sells for $100 Million to Billionaire Media Mogul". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved March 7, 2023.