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Entertainment Studios

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Entertainment Studios, Inc.
CF Entertainment
Private corporation
IndustryMass Media
FoundedLos Angeles, California, United States (1993; 25 years ago (1993))[1]
FounderByron Allen[1]
HeadquartersCentury City, Los Angeles, California, United States
Key people
Byron Allen (chairman, CEO)[1]
Total assets$1 billion (2017[1])
OwnerByron Allen (100%)[1][2][3]
Number of employees
200 (2017[1])

Entertainment Studios is an independent television and film studio that was founded by comedian Byron Allen in 1993 under the name CF Entertainment. The company produces and distributes first-run television series for U.S. television syndication. It also operates six digital cable and satellite channels, which broadcast a mix of original program content and syndicated programs that the company distributes for broadcast television through its Entertainment Studios Networks subsidiary. It distributes films through its subsidiary Freestyle Releasing and eponymous Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures division, and also owns The Grio, a news content provider catering to African-Americans.

The company is the largest independently operated syndication producer/distributor for broadcast television as the company produces and distributes 29 syndicated television series, which largely consist of court shows scripted from actual testimony, and interview programs.[4]


Entertainment Studios was founded by Byron Allen in 1993.[5] Entertainment Studios greenlit its first film and stage projects in December 2011, when it acquired the rights to develop a biographical film and theatrical play on the life of Sammy Davis, Jr. from Davis' daughter with actor/singer, Tracey Davis.[6]

The company ventured into scripted programming in 2012, with the 3rd quarter launch of the sitcoms Mr. Box Office and The First Family.[7] Both are set for 104 episodes[7] over two years under a model of accelerated production similar to Debmar-Mercury's 10-90 Model.[8] The two half hour shows were picked up as a two hour weekend primetime programming block with two episodes of each show back to back by Tribune, Weigel and CBS Television Station groups.[7]

The company launched its eighth cable channel, Justice Central.TV, on December 10, 2012 which is also its first advertising support only channel.[9] In October 2015, the studio acquired Freestyle Releasing for an undisclosed amount "said to be sealed for high-eight figures". Freestyle included a Netflix output deal.[5]

In January 2016, the company sued AT&T and Comcast for racial discrimination in being biased against minority run entertainment companies in not carrying its cable channels. AT&T settled in December with the addition of 7 of Entertainment Studios' channels added to AT&T's DirecTV line up. In January 2016, Entertainment Studios added similar suits against Charter and the FCC.[10]

In 2016, Entertainment Studios began to make major expansions into film distribution; at the Sundance Film Festival, the company made a surprise $20 million bid for The Birth of a Nation, losing to Fox Searchlight.[11] In July 2016, Entertainment Studios signed a multi-year home video and on-demand distribution deal with Anchor Bay Entertainment, covering future theatrical releases by the company.[12] The studio acquired its first film later that month, with the North American rights to 47 Meters Down from Dimension Films.[13] At the 2017 Toronto Film Festival, Entertainment Studios also bought Chappaquiddick, Replicas, and Hostiles.[14] Entertainment Studios aimed to distribute at least 18 films in 2018.[15]

TheGrio was purchased by Entertainment Studios in June 2016.[16] In mid-September 2017, the company announced an over the top sports aggregator TV service, Sports.TV, which would be available in the fourth quarter of 2017.[17]

On March 22, 2018, Entertainment Studios announced its intent to acquire The Weather Channel's television assets from an NBCUniversal/Bain Capital/Blackstone Group partnership. The actual value was undisclosed, but was reported to be around $300 million; the channel's non-television assets, which were separately sold to IBM two years prior, were not included in the sale.[2][3]

In September 2018, Entertainment Studios arranged a half a billion dollar Syndicated loan facility through Deutsche Bank Securities, Jefferies Financial Group, Brightwood Capital Advisors and Comerica Bank. The loan was planned for corporate acquisitions production and co-productions and general business purposes.[18]

On November 8, 2018, it was reported that Byron Allen is seriously interested in purchasing Tribune Media.[19][20][21]

Entertainment Studios Television

Court shows


Game shows

Syndicated specials

  • Comedy Jam
  • Feel the Beat
  • Happy Holidays America
  • We Have a Dream

Talk and magazine series

Other shows

Entertainment Studios Networks

Cable and Digital

  • Automotive.TV
  • Cars.TV
  • Comedy.TV
  • ES.TV[12]
  • MyDestination.TV
  • Pets.TV
  • Recipe.TV[12]

Television channels

Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures

In January 2018, on his film distribution model, Allen stated:

We're chasing the studio crumbs. They don't want movies that do $40 million to $60 million. We totally will be good with those numbers, and that is what we're pursuing. Our thing is we are really big on slow roll-outs and small releases. Our philosophy — we believe in wide releases. We like to have movies that are 1,500-4,000 screens and we are chasing what the studios don't want. They're chasing much bigger. And we're going to take their crumbs and make a gourmet meal. And then eventually we'll move on to chasing more than their crumbs. But today we're chasing the crumbs.[15]

Year Release Date Film title Director Gross[24] Ref
2017 June 16, 2017 47 Meters Down Johannes Roberts $44.3 million [13]
September 22, 2017 Friend Request Simon Verhoeven $3.7 million [25]
December 22, 2017 Hostiles Scott Cooper $35.1 million [14]
2018 March 9, 2018 The Hurricane Heist Rob Cohen $15.8 million [26]
April 6, 2018 Chappaquiddick John Curran $18 million [27]
2019 January 11, 2019 Replicas Jeffrey Nachmanoff [28]
June 23, 2019 47 Meters Down: The Next Chapter Johannes Roberts [29]
TBD 2019 Animal Crackers Scott Christian Sava
Tony Bancroft
TBD 2019 Boss Level Joe Carnahan [31]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Siegel, Tatiana (December 20, 2017). "Byron Allen on "Chasing Studio Crumbs," Weinstein's Future and Christian Bale's 'Hostiles'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 26, 2017.
  2. ^ a b Andreeva, Nellie; Fleming, Mike (March 22, 2018). "Byron Allen's Entertainment Studios Acquires The Weather Channel TV Network For $300 Million". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 22, 2018.
  3. ^ a b Albiniak, Paige (March 22, 2018). "Byron Allen Acquires The Weather Group in $300 Million Deal". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved March 22, 2018.
  4. ^ "Entertainment Studios Launches Two Primetime First-run Sitcoms for Fall 2012". The Futon Critic. January 18, 2012. Retrieved December 27, 2016.
  5. ^ a b Busch, Anita (2015-10-22). "Byron Allen's Entertainment Studios Acquires Indie Freestyle Releasing". Deadline. Retrieved 2017-10-03.
  6. ^ Block, Alex (December 8, 2011). "Sammy Davis Jr. Biopic, Stage Show Planned". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 27, 2016.
  7. ^ a b c Andreeva, Nellie (May 21, 2012). "Byron Allen's Entertainment Studios Clears Syndicated Sitcom Block For Fall '12 Launch". Deadline. Retrieved October 12, 2017.
  8. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (May 3, 2012). "Comedy Series Starring Bill Bellamy Eying 100-Episode Order, Fall Launch". Deadline. Penske Business Media, LLC. Retrieved October 12, 2017.
  9. ^ a b Block, Alex Ben (December 10, 2012). "Byron Allen's Entertainment Studios Launches Legal Digital Network". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved October 7, 2017.
  10. ^ Littleton, Cynthia (January 28, 2016). "Byron Allen's Entertainment Studios Files $10 Billion Discrimination Lawsuit Against Charter Communications, FCC". Variety. Retrieved October 3, 2017.
  11. ^ Donnelly, Matt; Waxman, Sharon (January 26, 2016). "Inside Sundance Bidding War for 'Birth of a Nation'". The Wrap. Retrieved October 4, 2017.
  12. ^ a b c Busch, Anita (July 14, 2016). "Anchor Bay And Byron Allen's Entertainment Studios Join In Multi-Year Deal". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved December 27, 2016.
  13. ^ a b McNary, Dave (25 July 2016). "Mandy Moore's Shark Tale '47 Meters Down' Bought From Weinsteins". Variety. Retrieved 3 October 2017.
  14. ^ a b Fleming, Mike (October 3, 2017). "Byron Allen's Entertainment Studios Hostiles; Christian Bale-Starrer Gets Oscar Season Berth". Deadline. Retrieved October 4, 2017.
  15. ^ a b Fleming, Mike (January 5, 2018). "'Hostiles' Distributor Byron Allen, On Growing A Movie Company In Difficult Times For Indies". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 22, 2018.
  16. ^ Evans, Greg (June 15, 2016). "Byron Allen's Entertainment Studios Acquires TheGrio, African-American Focused Digital News Platform". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved December 27, 2016.
  17. ^ Lafayette, Jon (September 19, 2017). "Entertainment Studios to Launch Streaming OTT Sports Platform". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved October 4, 2017.
  18. ^ Fleming, Mike (September 4, 2018). "Byron Allen Announces $500M In Credit Facility For Entertainment Studios Expansion". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved September 17, 2018.
  19. ^ Kelly, Keith (November 8, 2018). "Byron Allen seriously interested in buying Tribune Media". New York Post. Retrieved November 9, 2018.
  20. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (November 9, 2018). "Byron Allen Interested In Buying Tribune Media: Report". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved November 9, 2018.
  21. ^ Sandi (November 8, 2018). "Byron Allen Seriously Interested In Buying Tribune Media". Entertainment Studios. Retrieved November 9, 2018.
  22. ^ "Entertainment Studios Orders 130 More Episodes For Each Of Its Five Court Shows". Deadline Hollywood. September 26, 2013. Retrieved September 27, 2018.
  23. ^ Block, Alex (April 4, 2013). "BET Networks Nabs Two Sitcoms in Multimillion-Dollar Reverse-Syndication Deal". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved October 12, 2017.
  24. ^ "Entertainment Studios All Time Box Office Results"., Inc. Retrieved 6 June 2018.
  25. ^ Busch, Anita (January 14, 2016). "Freestyle Releasing Gets 'Friend Request'". Deadline. Retrieved October 7, 2017.
  26. ^ Ramos, Dino-Day (July 17, 2017). "Rob Cohen's 'The Hurricane Heist' Acquired By Entertainment Studios". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved October 4, 2017.
  27. ^ Busch, Anita; Fleming, Mike (September 8, 2017). "Ted Kennedy Scandal Film 'Chappaquiddick' Lands $20M Commitment From Byron Allen At Toronto". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 25, 2018.
  28. ^ Fleming, Mike (September 8, 2017). "Keanu Reeves' 'Replicas' First Big Toronto Deal: Byron Allen Pays $4 Million". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 25, 2018.
  29. ^ Busch, Anita (October 26, 2017). "Byron Allen's Entertainment Studios Will Distribute Indie Sequel '48 Meters Down'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved December 26, 2017.
  30. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (November 29, 2017). "Byron Allen's Entertainment Studios Bites Into 'Animal Crackers', Eyes 2018 Release". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 25, 2018.
  31. ^ Busch, Anita (April 16, 2018). "Byron Allen's Entertainment Studios Bags Joe Carnahan's 'Boss Level' For U.S. Bow". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 16, 2018.

External links