Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios, an independent producer and distributor of first-run syndicated TV programming, has sold its sitcoms The First Family and Mr. Box Office to Tribune, Weigel and CBS Television Station Groups as part of a two-hour primetime weekend comedy block. It has been cleared in more than 85% of the U.S. Entertainment Studios first shot pilots for the sitcoms, which are getting initial orders of 104 episodes each. They will run two half-hours each, back-to-back, to create a two-hour primetime block.
Related: Comedy Series Starring Bill Bellamy Eying 100-Episode Order, Fall Launch
The First Family is about an African-American family that resides in the White House. Its cast includes Christopher B. Duncan, Kellita Smith, Gladys Knight, Jackee Harry, John Witherspoon, Marla Gibbs, and Michael D. Roberts. Mr. Box Office is about one of the world’s biggest movie stars, who is sentenced to community service teaching English at an inner-city high school in South Central Los Angeles. It stars Bill Bellamy, Jon Lovitz, Vivica A. Fox, Keshia Knight Pulliam, Rick Fox, Gary Busey, Alex Thomas, Tony T. Roberts, and Tim Meadows. Allen said his decision to do first-run syndicated comedy series was driven by “the huge shortfall of quality family sitcoms” for broadcast stations. His model of accelerated production is similar to that introduced by Debmar-Mercury, which features a first window for its sitcoms on cable before they go to stations in … Read More »
Following Debmar-Mercury’s success with the Tyler Perry sitcoms House Of Payne and Meet The Browns and Ice Cube’s Are We There Yet?, another syndication player is trying their hand at the model of accelerated production of urban comedy series for a run in broadcast syndication. Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios has just started filming Mr. Box Office, a pilot for a multi-camera comedy series starring actor/comedian Bill Bellamy. Co-starring in the project, which is aiming at producing a minimum of 104 episodes over two years, are Saturday Night Live alum Tim Meadows, Vivica A. Fox (Independence Day), former NBA star/actor Rick Fox, Keshia Knight Pulliam (Cosby), Jon Lovitz (SNL) and Gary Busey. Allen would not discuss his plans for the project but I sources indicate that Entertainment Studios has teamed on it with Tribune Entertainment and, in success, the show would air on the CW-affiliated stations through Tribune, the main station group carrying the CW. It is unclear whether Mr. Box Office also is targeting a cable run. All sitcoms under Debmar-Mercury’s 10-90 model run on a cable network while amassing episodes for a launch in broadcast syndication: House Of Payne, Meet The Browns and Are We There Yet? on TBS and Charlie Sheen’s upcoming Anger Management on FX. TBS is not aware of the the project at this time. According to sources, Mr. Box Office is eying a primetime launch this fall. Read More »