Showtime at the Apollo

Showtime at the Apollo (formerly It's Showtime at the Apollo and Apollo Live) is an American variety show that first aired in syndication from September 12, 1987 to May 24, 2008.[1][2] In 2018, the series returned on Fox with Steve Harvey hosting.[3] Filmed at the legendary Apollo Theater in Harlem, the show features live performances from both professional and up-and-coming artists, and also features the Amateur Night competition. In many cities such as New York (where it aired on WNBC), it often aired after Saturday Night Live during the late Saturday night/early Sunday morning hours, and was often paired with the similarly-syndicated Soul Train.[citation needed]

Showtime at the Apollo
Showtime at the apollo fox.png
Presented by(See hosts)
Opening theme"It's Showtime at the Apollo"
ComposerBarry Fasman
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons22
No. of episodes1,094
Executive producersPercy Sutton (1987–2002)
Bob Banner (1987–1996)
Blake Bradford (2007–2008)
Jim Roush (2016–2018)
Chris Wagner (2016–2018)
Production locationNew York City
Running time60 minutes
Production companiesApollo Theatre Productions (1987–2008; 2016–18)
Bob Banner Associates
Inner City Theater Group
The Heritage Networks
De Passe Entertainment
(2002–2008; 2016–18)
Telepictures Productions
The Roush Wagner Company
Original networkSyndication (1987–2008)
Fox (2016–2017; 2018)
Picture formatNTSC (1987–2008)
HDTV 720p (2016–2018)
Original releaseSeptember 12, 1987 (1987-09-12) –
May 24, 2008 (2008-05-24) (original series)
March 1, 2018 (2018-03-01) – May 24, 2018 (2018-05-24) (revival)

A live non-televised version of the show takes place every Wednesday (which is the original Apollo Amateur Night competition that has been running for over seventy years), with the taped version of the show for television being recorded in advance on other nights for later airing.[citation needed]


Many famous R&B, soul, and hip hop performers have appeared on the show, which has had a number of hosts, including Whoopi Goldberg, Rick Aviles, Martin Lawrence, Sinbad, Donna Summer, Mark Curry, Steve Harvey, Mo'Nique, Christopher "Kid" Reid, and Anthony Anderson. Kiki Shepard served as co-host from 1987 until 2002.[citation needed]

From 1989 to 1991, Sinbad served as the permanent host. After Sinbad left, the show reverted to a series of special guest hosts. In 1993, Steve Harvey began a seven-year stint as the permanent host. At the start of the 1998–99 season,[4] Harvey and Kiki Sheppard hosted a series of "Best of..." episodes until late October because production was delayed due to a labor dispute. After Harvey left in 2000, he was replaced by Rudy Rush. Rush was joined by new comedic dancer C.P. Lacey, who replaced Howard "Sandman" Sims, who had retired. Harvey returned to host the Fox revival of Showtime at the Apollo, beginning on March 1, 2018.[5]

Change of productionEdit

The original show was created by veteran television producer Bob Banner in conjunction with Percy Sutton and was produced and directed by BBA senior producer Don Weiner. After a dispute with the Apollo Theater Foundation in 2002, the original producers minus Bob Banner, who was no longer with the show after 1996[6][7] left to start a rival show called Showtime in Harlem[8][9][10] later known simply as Showtime.[11] Showtime in Harlem was produced at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. The show was later moved to California and renamed Live in Hollywood, lasting one season in 2003 with Shepard as host. It's Showtime at the Apollo was subsequently produced by de Passe Entertainment. It was for a time, hosted once again by Sinbad, who briefly returned to the show in 2006 while Mo'nique was on maternity leave. Whoopi Goldberg became the new host for the 2006–2007 season. At times, comedian and actor Anthony Anderson hosted during the 2006–2007 season.[citation needed]

BET revivalEdit

It was announced on September 30, 2011 that the BET cable network would produce a similar show titled Apollo Live[12] starting in 2012 with Tony Rock as the host.[13] The judges are the legendary Gladys Knight; famed beatboxer Doug E Fresh, and Michael Bivins of the 1980s group New Edition and early 1990s group Bell Biv DeVoe.[14]

Fox specials/revivalEdit

Showtime at the Apollo was revived by Fox Broadcasting Company in 2016-2017 with a pair of specials hosted by Steve Harvey. The first, a two-hour showcase, aired on December 5, 2016, while the second aired on February 1, 2017. A Christmas special called Showtime at the Apollo: Christmas aired on December 14, 2017 with co-host Adrienne Bailon.[15] It was later announced that Fox would start airing it as a weekly series in the 2017-18 television season, beginning March 1, 2018.[16] Singer Cam Anthony won the 2018 season with his performance of the Bill Withers song, "Ain't No Sunshine".[17][18]

Awards and nominationsEdit

Showtime at the Apollo has won a NAACP Image Award for "Outstanding Variety Series/Special" in 1991. The show was nominated in 1996, 1998, and 1999 for the same category. In 2000, the show was nominated by the NAACP Image Awards for "Outstanding Youth or Children's Series/Special" for the "Apollo Kids Finals" special episode. However, that same year, former host Steve Harvey has won an Image Award for "Outstanding Performance in a Variety Series/Special".[19]


  1. ^ Premiered: September 12, 1987
  2. ^ It's Showtime at the Apollo began its successful 15-year run in 1987, but the show's beginnings reach all the way back to 1913.
  3. ^ Pedersen, Erik (April 17, 2017). "Deadline Hollywood". ‘Showtime At The Apollo’: Fox Orders Weekly Series For Next Season; Steve Harvey Hosts. Retrieved February 28, 2018.
  4. ^ Season 12 Archived January 18, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Macke, Johnni. "Steve Harvey Announces The Return Of A Classic Series On FOX". People's Choice. Retrieved February 8, 2018.
  6. ^ Percy Sutton .... executive producer (unknown episodes, 1987–2002)
  7. ^ Bob Banner Associates
  8. ^ "Showtime in Harlem" (2002)
  9. ^ When "Showtime at the Apollo" was revamped in 2002, Rudy Rush and Kiki Shepard were ousted and given their own show, "Showtime in Harlem."
  10. ^ "Official site of Showtime in Harlem". Archived from the original on September 26, 2003. Retrieved September 25, 2007.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  11. ^ SHOWTIME Starring: Rudy Rush and Kiki Shepard
  12. ^ "BET Her".
  13. ^ "Apollo Live | Shows". BET. Retrieved January 18, 2013.
  14. ^ Apollo Live Cast
  15. ^ Steve Harvey to Host ‘Showtime at the Apollo’ Revival on Fox
  16. ^ "All-New Weekly Series "Showtime at the Apollo," Hosted by Steve Harvey, to Premiere Following Spring Return of "Gotham" Thursday, March 1, on FOX". The Futon Critic. January 25, 2018. Retrieved January 25, 2017.
  17. ^ McIlwaine, Kharisma (May 30, 2018). "Philadelphia singer Cam Anthony wins competition on 'Showtime at The Apollo'". Philadelphia Sun.
  18. ^ Prickett, Macon (April 2, 2018). "VIDEO: Teen R&B/Pop Singer Cam Anthony Wins Over SHOWTIME AT THE APOLLO Audience". BroadwayWorld.
  19. ^ "Showtime at the Apollo" (1987) – Awards – IMDb (accessed October 16, 2011)

External linksEdit