He doesn't get as much press as Tyler Perry does, but Byron Allen is seemingly quietly building a TV entertainment empire. BET Networks recently licensed over 100 episodes each of two new sitcoms, The First Family and Mr. Box Office, from Allen's Entertainment Studios to air on Centric starting this month.
And now Allen and his Entertainment Studios announced earlier this week, the lease of 75,000 square feet of production space in Culver City, CA, where the company's third and fourth brand new scripted series will be housed.
The half-hour syndicated shows will be funded by Entertainment Studios - 104 episodes of each, at a cost of approximately $350,000 to $400,000 each (according to THR), which is considered cheap by major network standards.
That kind of efficiency is why Allen is calling himself and his company "the Walmart of television," adding "we make it very efficiently but we don’t cut costs on writers or actors."
Each half-hour comedy is shot in just two days inside his Culver City studio, using all the same equipment and props, as well as producing, writing and technical staff repeatedly on each show.
In addition to the 2 already-existing scripted series that BET picked up, and the 2 announced this week that will soon go into production, Allen's Entertainment Studios boasts a library of 30 unscripted shows that have been created and sold since 1993, generating over $100 million in annual revenues for the company! Who knew?
And unlike the first 2 scripted shows, the next two will not necessarily feature black casts, says Allen, adding that "These sitcoms will be broad in nature... They will have recognizable big name stars who I can’t name yet. Basically, we're going after the Big Bang, Two And A Half Men and How I Met Your Mother audience."
In addition to these 2 new scripted series, Allen is already prepping a new game show as well as a talk show (which he will not host) aimed for a fall 2014 launch.
“With this model we never ask anyone’s permission to go forward,” says Allen told THR. “We create it. We shoot it. We sell it. That’s never been done before.”
Can't stop; won't stop.