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‘Comics Unleashed’ Clears 90% of U.S., Plans Autism PSAs

Jun 8, 2008  •  Post A Comment

Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios has renewed daily half-hour comedy series “Comics Unleashed” for the fall on stations representing more than 90% of U.S. households, including WCBS in New York, KABC in Los Angeles and WCIU in Chicago, where the series is cleared for the fall 2009 season as well.
In addition, the company has announced a charitable partnership with nonprofit organization Autism Speaks that will involve a number of public service announcements and comedian memorabilia auctions, among other efforts.
“We continue to be thrilled with the performance of this show,” said Byron Allen, chairman-CEO of Entertainment Studios. “With the Big Four networks continuing to shy away from sitcoms, there are few coming down the pipeline into off-network syndication. We figured that if we could deliver that same type of rating and same demo as a sitcom and save stations money, then this was an easy decision. If there was a plethora of sitcoms on the networks, trust me, we could not be doing ‘Comics Unleashed.’”
“Comics Unleashed” now has clearances with station groups including CBS, ABC, Weigel, Cox, Clear Channel, Hearst-Argyle, Acme, Belo, Granite, Scripps Howard, Gannett, Raycom Media, Nextstar, Pegasus, Hubbard, Meredith, Post-Newsweek, LIN, Entravision, Lincoln Financial, Landmark, Freedom, Barrington, Banks, Gray and Comp Corp.
Mr. Allen enters the fall season with 15 series on the air, and he noted that none of his series has ever been canceled. Other series in the library include “The American Athlete,” “Kickin’ It” and the original “Entertainers.”
“Studios are now shifting toward our approach in this business,” Mr. Allen said. “The economy is forcing them to be more efficient, cutting costs of production, running series multiple times and keeping costs down. That’s where we were on day one, and now we are in growth mode for fall 2009.”
One of the company’s biggest assets is its enormous library of more than 4,000 hours of content. It has cut deals to provide video content for MySpace TV with 10 separate vertical channels. Mr. Allen noted other deals are in the works with other brands, as well as mobile phone deals and Internet deals.
“The entire library is unencumbered, which makes these shows and interviews a gargantuan asset to us right now, and provides a revenue stream that wasn’t there before,” he said. “We are now set to create Web syndication that would provide video content to sites around the planet. That’s a good business to be in, and I look forward to extending that in the near future.”

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