Last Updated: May 25, 2024
Info
Category:
Richest CelebritiesRichest Comedians
Net Worth:
$800 Million
Birthdate:
Apr 22, 1961 (63 years old)
Birthplace:
Detroit
Gender:
Male
Profession:
Talk show host, Comedian, Television producer, Film director, Screenwriter, Businessperson, Actor, Television Director
Nationality:
United States of America
💰 Compare Byron Allen's Net Worth

What is Byron Allen's Net Worth?

Byron Allen is an American comedian, television producer, and entertainment mogul who has a net worth of $800 million. Byron Allen is one of the most under-the-radar, extremely successful people in Hollywood. He began his career as a stand-up comedian, making his debut on "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson," one of the youngest comedians ever to perform on the show. This early success led to a regular role on the NBC television series "Real People." Transitioning from comedy to business, Allen founded Entertainment Studios in 1991, a fully integrated global media production and distribution company. This company became notable for producing and distributing TV shows, selling advertising, and pioneering court show productions. In 2009, he launched six HD television networks. He also owns and operates Allen Media Group (AMG). In 2018, Byron paid $300 million for The Weather Channel television network (not the website). Between his two companies, he owns 12 cable networks and actively produces around 70 television shows that air on affiliates across the United States.

In recent years, Byron has earned headlines for launching a series of (so far) unsuccessful high-dollar acquisitions. In March 2020, he made an $8.5 billion offer to buy TV station owner Tegna. In 2022, he attempted to buy the NFL's Washington Commanders. In September 2023, he made a $10 billion offer to buy ABC and various other TV stations from Disney. In November 2023, he attempted to buy TV stations owned by E.W. Scripps. In December 2023, he made a $3.5 billion offer to buy Black Entertainment Television from Paramount. In January 2024, he completed a $14 billion offer to buy out Paramount. None of these deals have actually come to fruition.

Early Life

Byron Allen Folks was born on April 22nd, 1961, in Detroit, Michigan. He grew up in Los Angeles. Allen's interest in show business began during his childhood when he would accompany his mother to NBC studios in Burbank, where she worked as a publicist. Free to roam the sound stages, Allen would sneak onto "The Tonight Show" set, sit behind Johnny Carson's desk and play talk show host. Allen put together a stand-up routine and began performing at amateur nights in Los Angeles comedy clubs. Comedian Jimmie Walker saw Allen's stand-up act and was so impressed that he invited the 14-year-old comedian to join his comedy writing team alongside the young comedians Jay Leno and David Letterman. At age 18, Allen made his television debut on "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson." Allen holds the distinction of being the youngest standup comedian ever to have performed on the show.

Career

His one-night gig on "The Tonight Show" was so successful that it led to an offer for Byron to co-host a new talk show called "Real People."  While co-hosting "Real People," he took the opportunity to learn as much as he could about producing, directing, advertising, and how money really worked in the entertainment industry.  He spent his spare time creating relationships with various television stations, speaking directly with advertisers, and becoming acquainted with everyone he could behind the scenes.

In 1993, Allen co-founded Entertainment Studios with his mother. His first series, "Entertainers with Byron Allen," was a weekly, one-hour series profiling the current stars of film and television. In 2009, Allen became the first television entrepreneur to own and launch a portfolio of six 24-hour HD television networks simultaneously. The six networks include Pets.TV, Comedy.TV, Recipe.TV, Cars.TV, ES.TV, and MyDestination.TV.

Today, Byron's companies produce more than 30 nationally syndicated programs that generate $100 million in revenue per year. Entertainment Studios is the largest independent producer and distributor of first-run syndicated programming in the world.

Revenue Model

Instead of charging the networks huge fees for the rights to his shows, he gives away his shows for free.  Yes, you read that correctly – for free. In exchange for giving the content away for free, Byron is given the right to sell 50% of the show's available advertising time, which he then sells directly. Advertisers are clamoring to buy advertising time with him, as well, since he can charge lower prices for the ad time while still reaching 35 million viewers, largely due to the sheer number of shows he has running. Byron owns 100% of Entertainment Studios to this day.

(Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images for Bloomberg Businessweek)

Personal Life

In 2007, Allen married a television producer named Jennifer Lucas. Over the course of their relationship, the couple has had three children together.

Byron Allen serves on the Motion Picture & Television Fund Board of Governors. In February 2023, Allen was presented with the inaugural "Legendary Honor" by the African American Student Union of the Harvard Business School.

Lawsuits

In 2020, Byron wrapped up a 5-year campaign against Comcast after filing a $10 billion claim for racism. In February 2021, he withdrew his lawsuit after a private settlement was reached. The settlement also achieved carriage agreements for three of his cable channels. Comcast had initially refused to carry his channels, a decision that Allen claimed was due to racial discrimination. The court case was eventually taken to the Supreme Court after an appeal from Comcast. Prior to this, Allen's suit had been dismissed three times at the district court level. Byron has filed similar suits against AT&T and Charter Communications, citing their refusal or unwillingness to carry channels that are owned by African Americans.

Allen launched a $10 billion federal lawsuit against McDonald's Corp for "racial stereotyping" in their ad practices. In May 2023, he filed a second lawsuit against McDonald's in which he alleges the fast-food chain has refused to advertise with Black-owned media. Byron is accusing the company of lying after they pledged in May 2021 to boost national ad spending with Black-owned media to 5% from 2% by 2024.

TV Network Revenues

In 2009, Allen became the first television entrepreneur to own and launch a portfolio of six 24-hour HD television networks simultaneously. The six networks include Pets.TV, Comedy.TV, Recipe.TV, Cars.TV, ES.TV, and MyDestination.TV. Today, Byron's companies produce more than 30 nationally syndicated programs that (according to "The Hollywood Reporter") bring in more than $100 million in revenue each year.

Acquisitions

In 2018, it was announced that Byron Allen's company would be acquiring The Weather Channel for $300 million. The deal included the cable TV network but not online assets like Weather.com and its related apps – which had actually been previously sold to IBM.

In 2020, it was announced that AMG was acquiring an ABC affiliate in Honolulu for $30 million. The Hawaii-based affiliate covers all of the main islands, and it also has a portfolio that includes MeTV, Start TV, Heroes & Icons, and a Washington, D.C.-based news network. Earlier in the year, he closed a deal that included the acquisition of 11 broadcast television stations from USA Television. This deal was worth more than $300 million. Also, in 2020, Allen partnered with the Sinclair Broadcast Group to acquire no fewer than 21 regional sports networks from Walt Disney/Fox. This deal was worth an astounding $10.6 billion.

Other deals during this period included the purchase of Bayou City Broadcasting, which owns four stations in places like Louisiana and Indiana. This deal was worth about $165 million. One company that seems to be holding out is Tegna, a big broadcaster that has rejected Allen's offer of $8.5 billion for an all-cash deal. In 2020, Byron announced that he had invested $500 million in network affiliates over the past year or so. Allen also stated that he plans to spend about $10 billion in total over the next few years in a bid to invest heavily in acquisitions and become the nation's biggest broadcaster.

Allen was part of a group that made a bid to buy the Denver Broncos of the National Football League in February 2022 but was outbid by the S. Robson Walton group.

In July 2022 Byron's company acquired the Black News Channel television network out of bankruptcy for $11 million.

Attempted Acquisitions

As we summarized in the opening section of this article, in recent years, Byron has earned headlines for launching acquisition attempts that have mostly not come to fruition. For example:

  • In March 2020, he made an $8.5 billion offer to buy TV station owner Tegna.
  • In 2022, he attempted to buy the NFL's Washington Commanders.
  • In September 2023, he made a $10 billion offer to buy ABC and various other TV stations from Disney.
  • In November 2023, he attempted to buy TV stations owned by E.W. Scripps. In December 2023, he made a $3.5 billion offer to buy Black Entertainment Television from Paramount.
  • In January 2024, he made a $14 billion offer to buy out Paramount. None of these deals have actually come to fruition.

For the $14 billion Paramount offer, according to a letter he sent to the company, Allen planned to finance the purchase through a mix of secured and unsecured senior debt and equity. Allen would plan to sell the Paramount film studio, some intellectual property, and various real estate assets to raise cash/pay down debt. He reportedly made the offer to Paramount's senior executives via text message, including the following assurance:

"We are highly confident that if we have full access to the company's internal due diligence information, we will be able to structure the capital structure to best provide for the company's future growth prospects."

Getty

Real Estate

In 2018, Byron Allen paid $22.8 million for oceanfront estate in Maui. Located in the affluent neighborhood of Kihei, the residence sits on a three-quarter-acre plot of land with 130 feet of beach frontage. Originally constructed in 2015, the residence itself features 7,300 square feet of living space and five bedrooms. The exterior boasts coral stone finishing, while the interior is trimmed in mahogany. Notable additions include an elevator, a 500-bottle wine cellar, an open-air spa, and 1,700 square feet of outdoor living space in the form of lanais. Of course, there is also a swimming pool on the land and a three-car garage.

In 2019, Bryon added to his real estate portfolio with the purchase of a $20 million Beverly Hills mansion. The property features 11,266 square feet of living space and eight bedrooms. Located in the Beverly Hills Flats neighborhood, the home sits on a plot of land slightly bigger than one-third of an acre. Prior to this purchase, Allen acquired a smaller home in Hollywood Hills. Fred Durst of Limp Bizkit previously owned this home.

Also in 2019, the broadcasting mogul picked up a 3,000-square-foot apartment at 220 Central Park South for $26.75 million. Situated in one of New York City's most expensive apartment buildings, the condo features three bedrooms.

In 2020, Allen splurged on real estate once again, snatching up a $27-million mansion in Aspen, Colorado. The residence boasts 9,000 square feet of living space, and it was previously owned by a successful Mexican businesswoman. This seller originally listed the property for as much as $35 million. The residence offers exceptional views of the surrounding mountains, and it features an outdoor pool, walls of glass, and a second-story terrace.

In October 2022, Byron paid $100 million for a 3.6-acre clifftop mansion in Malibu. The property features an 11,000-square-foot primary home with eight bedrooms and 12 bathrooms, plus several additional guest and staff houses. The home was originally listed in May 2021 for $127.5 million. The sellers were Public Storage billionaires Tammy Hughes Gustavson and Eric Gustavson. Tammy's late father Bradley Hughes, the founder of Public Storage, originally purchased the property in 2003 for $20 million.

All net worths are calculated using data drawn from public sources. When provided, we also incorporate private tips and feedback received from the celebrities or their representatives. While we work diligently to ensure that our numbers are as accurate as possible, unless otherwise indicated they are only estimates. We welcome all corrections and feedback using the button below.
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