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Entertainment Studios, Inc. is a privately-held American media company based in Los Angeles. Owned and founded in 1993 by African-American comedian Byron Allen, the company was initially involved in the production and distribution of first-run television series for U.S. television syndication. Under the banner Entertainment Studios Networks, it also operates a group of digital cable and satellite channels, which broadcast a mix of original programs and the company's syndicated content.

Entertainment Studios, Inc.
Formerly
CF Entertainment
Private corporation
IndustryTelevision production
Broadcasting
Film distribution
FoundedLos Angeles, California, United States (1993; 26 years ago (1993))[1]
FounderByron Allen[1]
HeadquartersCentury City,
Los Angeles, California
,
United States
Key people
Byron Allen (chairman, CEO)[1]
Total assets$1 billion (2017[1])
OwnerByron Allen (100%)[1][2][3]
Number of employees
200 (2017[1])
Divisions
Subsidiaries
Websiteentertainmentstudios.com

In the late 2010s, the company made several major expansions to its operations, including entering the film distribution market, acquiring The Weather Channel from NBCUniversal and Bain Capital, partnering with Sinclair Broadcast Group on its proposed acquisition of the regional sports network chain Fox Sports Networks, and its proposed acquisition of television stations from another minority-owned media group, Bayou City Broadcasting.

Contents

History

Entertainment Studios was founded by Byron Allen in 1993 as CF Entertainment ("CF" is believed to stand for "colored folks".)[4] The company was initially focused on producing low-cost, syndicated non-fiction programming, including interview series and court shows (largely scripted from actual testimony). Allen serves as host for some of these programs.[5]

Entertainment Studios greenlit its first film and stage projects in December 2011, when it acquired the rights to develop a biographical film and theatrical play on the life of Sammy Davis, Jr. from Davis' daughter with actor/singer, Tracey Davis.[6]

The company ventured into scripted programming in 2012, with the third-quarter launch of the sitcoms Mr. Box Office and The First Family.[7] Both are set for 104 episodes[7] over two years under a model of accelerated production similar to Debmar-Mercury's 10-90 Model.[8] The two half hour shows were picked up as a two hour weekend primetime programming block with two episodes of each show back to back by Tribune, Weigel and CBS Television Station groups.[7] The company launched its eighth cable channel and first ad-supported service, Justice Central.TV, on December 10, 2012.[9]

In October 2015, Entertainment Studios acquired Freestyle Releasing for an undisclosed amount "said to be sealed for high-eight figures". Freestyle also had an output deal with Netflix.[4] The Freestyle purchase was used to bolster an expansion into film distribution, via its new Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures division.[10][11] Its first release, 47 Meters Down, took in $44 million in box office revenue.[5]

In January 2016, the company sued AT&T and Comcast for racial discrimination in being biased against minority run entertainment companies in not carrying its cable channels. AT&T settled in December with the addition of 7 of Entertainment Studios' channels added to AT&T's DirecTV line up. Entertainment Studios added similar suits against Charter and the FCC.[12]

In June 2016, Entertainment Studios acquired TheGrio, a news website focusing on stories of interest to African Americans.[13] In mid-September 2017, the company announced plans to launch an over the top sports streaming service known as Sports.tv.[14]

On March 22, 2018, Entertainment Studios announced its intent to acquire The Weather Channel's television assets from an NBCUniversal/Bain Capital/Blackstone Group partnership. The actual value was undisclosed, but was reported to be around $300 million; the channel's non-television assets, which were separately sold to IBM two years prior, were not included in the sale.[15]

In September 2018, Entertainment Studios announced that it had arranged $500 million worth of credit facilities through Deutsche Bank Securities, Jefferies Financial Group, Brightwood Capital Advisors and Comerica. Allen explained that these funds were to be used for further "large-scale" acquisitions, productions, and other general expenses.[5][16] In an interview with Variety, Allen stated that he was "not a seller", and that he was "one or two acquisitions away from being a fairly large company".[5]

On May 3, 2019, it was announced that, under the subsidiary Diamond Sports Group, Entertainment Studios would be an equity and content partner in Sinclair Broadcast Group's acquisition of Fox Sports Networks.[17] On May 6, 2019, Entertainment Studios announced that it would expand into television station ownership by acquiring the stations of Bayou City Broadcasting for $165 million, including Evansville, Indiana's WEVV-TV and WEEV-LD, and Lafayette, Louisiana's KADN-TV and KLAF-LD. The stations will operate under the new division Allen Media Broadcasting.[18]

Television series distributed by Entertainment Studios

Court shows

Sitcoms

Game shows

Syndicated specials

  • Comedy Jam
  • Feel the Beat
  • Happy Holidays America
  • We Have a Dream

Talk and magazine series

Other shows

Entertainment Studios Networks

Cable and Digital

  • Automotive.TV
  • Cars.TV
  • Comedy.TV
  • ES.TV[21]
  • MyDestination.TV
  • Pets.TV
  • Recipe.TV[21]

Television channels

Allen Media Broadcasting

Allen Media Broadcasting, LLC is a TV station operating company owned by Entertainment Studios.

On May 6, 2019, Entertainment Studios announced that it would expand into television station ownership by acquiring the stations of Bayou City Broadcasting for $165 million, including Evansville, Indiana's WEVV-TV and WEEV-LD, and Lafayette, Louisiana's KADN-TV and KLAF-LD. The stations will operate under the new division Allen Media Broadcasting.[18]

City of license / Market Station Channel
TV (RF)
Owned since Network affiliation
Evansville, Indiana WEVV-TV 44 (28) 2015
WEEV-LD
(repeater of WEVV .2)
47 (47) 2019
Lafayette, Louisiana KADN-TV 15 (16) 2019
  • Fox
  • .2: NBC
  • .3: MyNetworkTV
KLAF-LD 46 (14) 2019 NBC


Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures

In 2016, Entertainment Studios began to make major expansions into film distribution; at the Sundance Film Festival, the company made a surprise $20 million bid for The Birth of a Nation, losing to Fox Searchlight.[10] In July 2016, Entertainment Studios signed a multi-year home video and on-demand distribution deal with Anchor Bay Entertainment, covering future theatrical releases by the company.[21] The studio acquired its first film later that month, with the North American rights to 47 Meters Down from Dimension Films.[22] At the 2017 Toronto Film Festival, Entertainment Studios also bought Chappaquiddick, Replicas, and Hostiles.[23] Entertainment Studios aimed to distribute at least 18 films in 2018.[11] In January 2018, on his film distribution model, Allen stated:

We're chasing the studio crumbs. They don't want movies that do $40 million to $60 million. We totally will be good with those numbers, and that is what we're pursuing. Our thing is we are really big on slow roll-outs and small releases. Our philosophy — we believe in wide releases. We like to have movies that are 1,500-4,000 screens and we are chasing what the studios don't want. They're chasing much bigger. And we're going to take their crumbs and make a gourmet meal. And then eventually we'll move on to chasing more than their crumbs. But today we're chasing the crumbs.[11]

Year Release Date Film title Director Gross[24] Ref
2017 June 16, 2017 47 Meters Down Johannes Roberts $44.3 million [22]
September 22, 2017 Friend Request Simon Verhoeven $3.7 million [25]
December 22, 2017 Hostiles Scott Cooper $40.9 million [23]
2018 March 9, 2018 The Hurricane Heist Rob Cohen $15.8 million [26]
April 6, 2018 Chappaquiddick John Curran $18 million [27]
2019 January 11, 2019 Replicas Jeffrey Nachmanoff $8.1 million [28]
July 12, 2019 Bethany Hamilton: Unstoppable Aaron Lieber [29]
August 16, 2019 47 Meters Down: Uncaged Johannes Roberts [30]
November 8, 2019 Arctic Dogs Aaron Woodley [31]
November 22, 2019 All Rise Anthony Mandler [32]
TBA 2019 Boss Level Joe Carnahan [33]

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f Siegel, Tatiana (December 20, 2017). "Byron Allen on "Chasing Studio Crumbs," Weinstein's Future and Christian Bale's 'Hostiles'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 26, 2017.
  2. ^ 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.
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ a b Busch, Anita (2015-10-22). "Byron Allen's Entertainment Studios Acquires Indie Freestyle Releasing". Deadline. Retrieved 2017-10-03.
  5. ^ a b c d Marich, Robert (January 25, 2019). "Byron Allen Is Still 'Very Acquisitive' After Transformative Year". Variety. Retrieved May 5, 2019.
  6. ^ Block, Alex (December 8, 2011). "Sammy Davis Jr. Biopic, Stage Show Planned". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 27, 2016.
  7. ^ a b c Andreeva, Nellie (May 21, 2012). "Byron Allen's Entertainment Studios Clears Syndicated Sitcom Block For Fall '12 Launch". Deadline. Retrieved October 12, 2017.
  8. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (May 3, 2012). "Comedy Series Starring Bill Bellamy Eying 100-Episode Order, Fall Launch". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved October 12, 2017.
  9. ^ a b Block, Alex Ben (December 10, 2012). "Byron Allen's Entertainment Studios Launches Legal Digital Network". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved October 7, 2017.
  10. ^ a b Donnelly, Matt; Waxman, Sharon (January 26, 2016). "Inside Sundance Bidding War for 'Birth of a Nation'". The Wrap. Retrieved October 4, 2017.
  11. ^ a b c Fleming, Mike (January 5, 2018). "'Hostiles' Distributor Byron Allen, On Growing A Movie Company In Difficult Times For Indies". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 22, 2018.
  12. ^ Littleton, Cynthia (January 28, 2016). "Byron Allen's Entertainment Studios Files $10 Billion Discrimination Lawsuit Against Charter Communications, FCC". Variety. Retrieved October 3, 2017.
  13. ^ Evans, Greg (June 15, 2016). "Byron Allen's Entertainment Studios Acquires TheGrio, African-American Focused Digital News Platform". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved December 27, 2016.
  14. ^ Lafayette, Jon (September 19, 2017). "Entertainment Studios to Launch Streaming OTT Sports Platform". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved October 4, 2017.
  15. ^ 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.
  16. ^ Fleming, Mike (September 4, 2018). "Byron Allen Announces $500M In Credit Facility For Entertainment Studios Expansion". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved September 17, 2018.
  17. ^ Littleton, Cynthia (May 3, 2019). "Sinclair Clinches Disney-Regional Sports Networks Deal, Byron Allen Joins as Partner". Variety. Retrieved May 5, 2019.
  18. ^ a b Littleton, Cynthia (May 6, 2019). "Byron Allen Expands Into Broadcasting, Buys 4 TV Stations for $165 Million". Variety. Retrieved May 6, 2019.
  19. ^ "Entertainment Studios Orders 130 More Episodes For Each Of Its Five Court Shows". Deadline Hollywood. September 26, 2013. Retrieved September 27, 2018.
  20. ^ Block, Alex (April 4, 2013). "BET Networks Nabs Two Sitcoms in Multimillion-Dollar Reverse-Syndication Deal". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved October 12, 2017.
  21. ^ a b c Busch, Anita (July 14, 2016). "Anchor Bay And Byron Allen's Entertainment Studios Join In Multi-Year Deal". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved December 27, 2016.
  22. ^ a b McNary, Dave (25 July 2016). "Mandy Moore's Shark Tale '47 Meters Down' Bought From Weinsteins". Variety. Retrieved 3 October 2017.
  23. ^ a b Fleming, Mike (October 3, 2017). "Byron Allen's Entertainment Studios Hostiles; Christian Bale-Starrer Gets Oscar Season Berth". Deadline. Retrieved October 4, 2017.
  24. ^ "Entertainment Studios All Time Box Office Results". BoxOfficeMojo.com. IMDb.com, Inc. Retrieved 6 June 2018.
  25. ^ Busch, Anita (January 14, 2016). "Freestyle Releasing Gets 'Friend Request'". Deadline. Retrieved October 7, 2017.
  26. ^ Ramos, Dino-Day (July 17, 2017). "Rob Cohen's 'The Hurricane Heist' Acquired By Entertainment Studios". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved October 4, 2017.
  27. ^ Busch, Anita; Fleming, Mike (September 8, 2017). "Ted Kennedy Scandal Film 'Chappaquiddick' Lands $20M Commitment From Byron Allen At Toronto". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 25, 2018.
  28. ^ Fleming, Mike (September 8, 2017). "Keanu Reeves' 'Replicas' First Big Toronto Deal: Byron Allen Pays $4 Million". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 25, 2018.
  29. ^ Hipes, Patrick (March 21, 2019). "Surfing Doc 'Bethany Hamilton: Unstoppable' Lands At Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures". Deadline. Retrieved March 21, 2019.
  30. ^ Busch, Anita (October 26, 2017). "Byron Allen's Entertainment Studios Will Distribute Indie Sequel '48 Meters Down'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved December 26, 2017.
  31. ^ Wiseman, Andreas (December 3, 2018). "Byron Allen's ESMP Takes On U.S. Distribution Of Animation 'Arctic Dogs' Voiced By Jeremy Renner, Alec Baldwin". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved December 3, 2018.
  32. ^ Hipes, Patrick (April 22, 2019). "Sundance Pic 'Monster' Gets New Title & Theatrical Deal With Byron Allen's ESMP". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 22, 2019.
  33. ^ Busch, Anita (April 16, 2018). "Byron Allen's Entertainment Studios Bags Joe Carnahan's 'Boss Level' For U.S. Bow". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 16, 2018.

External links