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April 08, 2005

Byron Allen: Who Knew?

OK I have to confess that I remember Bobby Rivers a lot, but I only remember Byron Allen a little. Like other mellow and slightly nebbish young adults of the brown persuasion, I took my share of ribbing for liking Bobby Rivers, the old VH1 host back in the late 80s. Maybe it was his sugary and bouyant personality that both endeared him to me and made me gag, but I thought Bobby Rivers had something. It was more that your basic non-threatening negro pose, he was engaging and pushed his personality all over everything like carmel fudge.

Byron Allen, on the other hand, didn't give anybody a reason to thing 'damn, is he black at all?' There was never any question about Allen's soul credentials. Back in those days there were six young black media stars. They were Bobby Rivers, Chuck D., Arsenio Hall, Byron Allen, Ed Lover and Dr. Dre. Nobody else was close, not even Janet Jackson, although she took over shortly thereafter.

Byron Allen seemed unremarkable at the time, but you couldn't help but notice how smoothly he just did the talk show thing. He was a natural and didn't push the boundaries like Arsenio, but then he didn't tip over my little black mental crab either. He never got me into the yellow zone pushing over to red my internal 'set back the race' meter. He just did his thing, cracked corny jokes and got paid. For those of you born after 'The Empire Strikes Back' know this: Tiger Woods isn't even close to being the first surprisingly charming black man who outclasses most of his peers.

I saw Byron Allen some time later doing some standup at the old Improv in West LA after his show was cancelled, and I thought to myself, this man is talented. He's funny and intelligent, what a shame that he peaked so soon. I'm glad I was wrong. Allen was nowhere near the peak. Still, I don't think any of us had any idea how paid Byron Allen has become. In today's news his Entertainment Studios (with the pathetically clunky website) offered 2.2 Billion dollars to buy PAX. You remember PAX, well they're in trouble, and Allen is their knight in shining armor.

Everytime you read something about Lil Kim and shake your head in shame, you can read the following paragraph:

The former co-host of the hit 1980s show "Real People" said he has had preliminary discussions with Paxson as well as talks with investment bank Credit Suisse Boston and a number of private-equity firms about putting together a deal.

Allen said he also has had preliminary talks with General Electric Co.'s NBC, which bought a 32 percent stake in Paxson for $415 million in 1999 in the form of preferred stock. NBC exercised an option in 2003 requiring Paxson to buy back the stake with interest. The matter is currently in dispute.

Falls under the radar? Shame. Nobody in the NBA is ballin' like that. Byron Allen could buy a football team. Hell, $415 million is the payroll of the NY Yankees for three years, and that's just a fraction of the size of the deal that he's putting together. Now I know that deals are meant to collapse, and nothing is promised, but if he pulls this one off, it's going to be sweet.

You go, bro.

Posted by mbowen at April 8, 2005 08:55 AM

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Cobb on Byron Allen from Booker Rising
The moderate-conservative Republican blogger, on the black entertainment exec’s bid to buy the struggling TV network and retool it for black audiences: “He's funny and intelligent, what a shame that he peaked so soon. I'm glad I was wrong... [Read More]

Tracked on April 13, 2005 11:39 AM