Byron Allen Folks
(born April 22, 1961)
is an American businessman, comedian
, television producer
, philanthropist, and the head of the U.S.
entertainment company Entertainment Studios
Early life and education
Allen was born in Detroit, but grew up in Los Angeles.
[ His interest in show business began during his childhood, when he would accompany his mother, Carolyn Folks,] to NBC studios in Burbank where she worked as a publicist.
At age 14, Allen put together his first stand-up routine and began appearing on amateur night at comedy clubs throughout the Los Angeles area.
Comedian Jimmie Walker saw Allen's stand-up act and invited the 14-year-old comedian to join his comedy writing team alongside promising young comedians Jay Leno and David Letterman. At age 18, Allen made his television debut on ''The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson''. One of his earliest roles was as a regular presenter on the NBC series ''Real People'', joining the cast at the beginning of the second season.
His show ''Jammin'' was picked up as ''Kickin' It with Byron Allen'' in 1992, and it ran for more than 21 seasons. Allen's foray into television production began in Los Angeles in 1993 when he founded Entertainment Studios with the launch of his first series — ''Entertainers with Byron Allen'' — a weekly, one-hour series profiling the current stars of film and television.
In 2018, Entertainment Studios acquired The Weather Channel from Comcast.
In 2019, he partnered with Sinclair Broadcast Group in Diamond Holding Group to acquire Fox Sports Networks, which The Walt Disney Company agreed to sell as a condition of its purchase of 21st Century Fox.
In 2020, Allen ended a 5-year campaign against Comcast. After reaching the Supreme Court of the United States, Allen settled a $20 billion legal claim (for racism), achieving carriage agreements for three of his cable channels: Comedy.TV, Recipe.TV, and JusticeCentral.TV.
In 2018, Allen was selected for the Bloomberg 50 as one of "the people in business, entertainment, finance, politics, and technology and science whose 2018 accomplishments were particularly noteworthy". He was also selected for the 100 Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs at the Goldman Sachs Builders & Innovators Summit 2018, and he was honored by the Salvation Army and the Los Angeles Metropolitan Advisory Board at the Salvation Army's 11th Annual Christmas Kettle Luncheon. In January 2019, Allen was a recipient of NATPE's 16th Annual Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Awards, presented during the annual NATPE Miami Marketplace & Conference. Allen received the 2019 Whitney M. Young Jr. Award at the 46th annual Los Angeles Urban League Awards dinner.
Allen married TV producer Jennifer Lucas in 2007. The couple has three children: daughters Chloe, born in August 2008 and Olivia in April 2010, and a son, Lucas born in December 2012. Allen is on the Motion Picture & Television Fund Board of Governors.
Category:20th-century American comedians
Category:21st-century American businesspeople
Category:African-American television personalities
Category:American chief executives in the media industry
Category:American stand-up comedians
Category:American television producers
Category:American television talk show hosts
Category:African-American television talk show hosts
Category:Businesspeople from Detroit
Category:Businesspeople from Los Angeles
Category:Comedians from California
Category:Comedians from Michigan