Celebrity Series Extends Its Reach

Aug 16, 2004  •  Post A Comment

A new look and new company president have propelled Byron Allen’s “EntertainmentStudios.com” into new markets, including New York and Los Angeles, for the new season.

The series, a half-hour strip that profiles film, television and music celebrities, will enter its fifth season this fall, when the show will be cleared in the nation’s top two markets for the first time. The series will also be revamped, according to Mr. Allen, with a fresh look and pace.

“We’re revamping the whole show,” said Mr. Allen, Entertainment Studios chairman and chief executive. “Very few people can tell the difference between magazine shows anymore, and we will be differentiating ourselves by stepping up the information we deliver viewers and have a laugh or two along the way.”

The series is now cleared on stations representing 70 percent of the country, and more deals are on the way, Mr. Allen said. In New York, WABC-TV will air “EntertainmentStudios.com” this fall, while KTLA-TV holds the rights in Los Angeles. In Chicago, WBBM-TV will continue to air the series.

In the past year Entertainment Studios has ramped up its production slate, adding the strip “Recipe TV” to the company’s stable of weekly series, and has hired veteran executives to help beef up distribution. One such hire, Stu Stringfellow, was recently tapped as president of domestic distribution.

“I feel great about the strip business. This is where stations need the most support and help,” Mr. Allen said. “There is a lot we can do to help maintain the strength broadcast television currently has, with audiences migrating to cable. All of our shows were designed to help local stations get more money and bring in ad dollars they were not getting before.”

“We are right on schedule,” Mr. Stringfellow said of the new clearances. “For stations, when you’re dealing with daytime and late-fringe programming, you are looking for shows you can sell to advertisers and don’t have to sell the house to buy. I think our company has proven it can produce viable strips and we plan to add more in the near future.”

He and Mr. Allen point toward their “magazine rack” strategy as the reason they have never canceled a show.

“From automotive to travel to food, we are creating programs that bring in advertising dollars that a station may not find elsewhere,” Mr. Allen said. “They know our shows aren’t going anywhere, and can count on them to be back year after year.”