- Full Name Byron Allen
- Occupation Businessman, Television Producer, Comedian
- Nationality American
- Birthplace Michigan, USA
- Birth Date Apr 22, 1961
- Age 62 Years, 5 Months
Byron Allen | Biography 2021Philanthropist
Byron Allen began his career as a stand-up comedian, then debuted in the 'The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson,' and got his show 'Kickin' It with Byron Allen,' one of the longest-running shows in the U.S. Now, Allen is the Head of Entertainment Studios, Allen Media Broadcasting and owns one of the industry's largest cable network portfolios, which includes The Weather Channel, Comedy.TV, Cars.TV, ES.TV, JusticeCentral.TV, MyDestination.TV, Pets.TV, Recipe.TV, Local Now, and The Weather Channel en Espaol, among others.
Allen is a media mogul, founder of the Entertainment Studios and Allen Media Broadcasting Company.
Who is Byron Allen?
Byron Allen is an American comedian, television producer, and the founder, chairman, and chief executive officer of Entertainment Studios, a television production company based in the United States.
Allen created a stand-up routine when he was 14 years old and performed it on amateur nights. His performance impressed the comic Jimmie Walker, who hired Allen in his comedy writing team.
By the age of 18, he had made his television debut on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. In 1992, he landed his own show Kickin' It with Byron Allen, which became one of the longest-running television shows.
In 1993, Allen entered the media business. He founded Entertainment Studios. Allen then extended the company in 2015 and established Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures. He also purchased another media company called TheGrio in 2016.
And in 2018, Allen bought The Weather Channel, a channel that has been awarded eight times consecutively.
Next year, he founded Allen Media Broadcasting. He also partnered with Sinclair Broadcast Group and purchased 21 Regional Sports Networks (RSNs) from Walt Disney-FOX Corporation.
As of 2021, Allen owns one of the industry's largest cable network portfolios, including Comedy.TV, Cars.TV, ES.TV, JusticeCentral.TV, MyDestination.TV, Pets.TV, Recipe.TV and Local Now, among others.
Allen's media companies filed a lawsuit against McDonald Corp. in 2021. The allegations claimed that the fast-food giant has been declining to work with black-owned businesses in its advertising business and costing the media companies millions of dollars in the economy.
Byron Allen Folks was born on 22 April 1961 in Detroit, Michigan. His mother, Carolyn Folks, was just 17 years old when she gave birth to Allen. His father worked for Ford Motor Company, and his grandfather worked for Great Lakes Steel for over 30 years.
Allen's parents divorced when he was just seven years old. His mother, along with Allen and his toddler sister, moved to Los Angeles in 1968, after the split. They had initially gone to Los Angeles to visit their relatives but decided to settle in the city.
Allen's mother enrolled at the University of California, Los Angeles, for her master's degree in Film studies. Upon graduation, she applied for a job at the National Broadcasting Company (NBC-TV). Folks did not get a permanent job at NBC, but she offered the network to work for them for free.
Folks worked as a tour guide which gave Allen exclusive access to the network. Allen would sit in the NBC Burbank parking lot, waiting for Johnny Carson to arrive. The two would discuss the previous night's episode of The Tonight Show.
Allen recalled watching specials from Bob Hope and George Burns and The Flip Wilson Show and Sanford and Son. He added, "What changed everything for us is when she asked them will you start one with me, 'can I work for you for free?' and they said yes and because she got a job at NBC and as a child I was able to go with her and I was exposed to a lot. NBC became a playground for me, and I just fell in love with the television business."
Allen attended Los Angeles High School and graduated with honors. He then completed his degree from the University of California, Los Angeles Film School, just like his mother.
Allen started his first stand-up routine at 14 and had been performing on amateur nights at comedy clubs in the Los Angeles region. His routine pleased the famous comic Jimmie Walker so much that he offered the 14-year-old to join his comedy writing team with promising young comedians Jay Leno and David Letterman.
He made his television debut on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson when he was 18 years old. In 1992, his show Jammin, which was renamed Kickin' It with Byron Allen, made it to air, and by the end of its run, it had ranked among the top ten longest-running television shows in the United States.
Next year, in 1993, Allen founded Entertainment Studios, a global media corporation based in Los Angeles, which later got extended to New York, Chicago, Atlanta, and Raleigh, and other locations. He then bought Freestyle Releasing in 2015 and renamed it Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures, a full-service theatrical film distribution company.
In 2016, Entertainment Studios purchased another media company called TheGrio. It was a digital, video-centric news platform focused on creating exciting entertainment, news, and lifestyle content for African-Americans.
After two years, in 2018, Allen bought The Weather Channel, the number one weather news television network. The channel had won the ‘2018 Harris Poll EquiTrend TV News Brand', it's eighth consecutive win.
Further in 2019, Allen's companies embarked on two bold projects: Firstly, The Weather Channel en Espaol, which premiered in 2020, and secondly, an exclusive collaboration with Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman's short-form digital platform Quibi. This partnership aimed to deliver weather-related programming from The Weather Channel to Quibi's Daily Essentials.
Allen's technology team also launched Local Now, Entertainment Studios' Streaming App, in 2019. The OTT and mobile app were created to generate revenue from his various content business lines and allowed him more engagement with a broader range of demographics.
The same year, he founded Allen Media Broadcasting and established a broadcast station group that now included four "Big 4" stations. He then partnered with Sinclair Broadcast Group to purchase 21 Regional Sports Networks (RSNs) from Walt Disney-FOX Corporation for $10.6 billion in August 2019. In addition to that, he purchased Bayou City Broadcasting, which included four television stations, in July of 2019.
In 2020, his Media Broadcasting purchased an additional 11 stations from USA Television in February and acquired KITV, an ABC affiliate in Honolulu, in August 2020. This acquisition brought his Allen Media Group's Big 4 affiliate broadcast television stations to 16 in 12 markets.
Other than that, Allen owns one of the industry's largest cable network portfolios, which includes The Weather Channel, Comedy.TV, Cars.TV, ES.TV, JusticeCentral.TV, MyDestination.TV, Pets.TV, Recipe.TV, Local Now, and The Weather Channel en Espaol, among others.
In May 2021, two companies run by Allen sued the infamous fast-food chain company McDonald's Corp., alleging that it discriminates against Black-owned businesses. According to the allegations, McDonald's in Chicago refused to advertise with Allen's Entertainment Studios Networks or his Weather Group while working with White-owned channels. It claimed that McDonald's major advertising agency hasn't asked for bids for spots on the Weather Channel and the suit pledged a total of $10 billion in damages.
The lawsuit further noted that McDonald's spends less than $5 million, or 0.3 percent of its annual $1.6 billion advertising budget, with Black-owned media firms. Advertisers are supposed to spend at least 5% of their budgets on enterprises owned by the diversified community of the nation.
Allen's companies filed the lawsuit on the same day that McDonald's announced it would increase its national ad spending with Black-owned media to 5% from 2% by 2024 and increase advertising on Hispanic-, Asian-American-, women-, and LGBTQ-owned platforms.
In addition to criticizing McDonald's two-tier advertising structure, the lawsuit claimed that the corporation had deceptively categorized Entertainment Studios as an African American media company by simply assuming that Allen was African American. So, his materials must target that population, even though its networks such as Pets.TV and Comedy.TV caters to a wide audience.
Due to the blatant bigotry, Allen's enterprises have allegedly lost important advertising revenue as a result of being banned from McDonald's general market budget. The lawsuit also included that McDonald's spent $1.6 billion on television advertising in the United States in 2019, with $5 million, or less than 1%, going to Black-owned media.
Allen also made a statement calling out the exclusion of black-owned businesses from the big part of the economy controlled by the empire and called it an economic genocide in the corporate industry.
According to CelebrityNetWorth, Byron Allen's net worth is estimated to be $450 million.
Allen got married to TV producer Jennifer Lucas in 2007. They have three children - eldest daughter Chloe Ava born in 2008, youngest daughter Olivia Rose born in 2010, and youngest son Lucas Byron, born in 2012.
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