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Byron Allen Calls His Studio 'The Walmart of television' - Launches 2 New Sitcoms

by Tambay A. Obenson
April 19, 2013 12:08 PM
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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.

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  • GB | June 11, 2013 2:09 PMReply

    His production company being the "Walmart of Television" shows in every episode, and not in a good way. Assembly line production, cookie-cutter writing and plots, and poor editing. In the end, it's highly profitable, but sacrifices quality for quantity, and just looks cheap.

    There's a reason most sitcoms or dramas take their time to produce an episode, instead of just churning them out with no regard to character development. I'm sure there's a happy medium, but I'm afraid Allen and Perry haven't found it. I respect the hustle, but I'd rather wait 4-5 years to see 100 well fleshed out episodes, instead of 100 that were rushed into production in six months.

  • Matthew Milam | April 22, 2013 10:11 PMReply

    I think it's possible to make cheap, good television. Barney Miller comes to mind.

    It took place, aside from a couple of episodes, entirely on one set.

  • Miles Ellison | April 22, 2013 10:23 PM

    Barney Miller had better actors and much better writers.

  • Miles Ellison | April 19, 2013 8:58 PMReply

    He must be so proud.

  • Monique a Williams | April 19, 2013 7:00 PMReply

    Ugh. The Big Bang etc. audience is gross. Those shows are broad indeed. #crude

  • urbanauteur | April 19, 2013 5:03 PMReply

    Huggie Lowdown of TV ... who knew?

  • ALM | April 19, 2013 4:18 PMReply

    So far, the quality of his productions accurately reflect their costs.

  • FactChecker | April 19, 2013 2:23 PMReply

    "we make it very efficiently but we don’t cut costs on writers or actors."

    Who does he think he's fooling? That's exactly where they cut costs. Actors on Grey's Anatomy and Scandal make as much per episode as he spends on an episode. ... Not too mention these shows are pure dreck. He's the TP of TV.

  • lilkunta | April 26, 2013 9:21 PM

    how can byron allen be 'the TP of TV" when TP himself is the Tp of TV ?

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