Nitery R&B Live headed for TV

A television version of prominent rhythm & blues nitery R&B Live will likely emerge next year, according to one of its principals.

The club has floated among several locations around Los Angeles over the last two years before recently settling at the Roxy on Sunset Boulevard for shows every other Wednesday night (including one tonight). It has hosted live performances by a number of top R&B performers, including Chaka Khan and Stevie Wonder.

Ramon Hervey, partner in the club with Bill Hammond and manager for Vanessa Williams and L.A. Reid & Kenneth (Babyface) Edmonds, said he will likely close a TV deal by the year’s first quarter.

“We’ve had some serious conversations with a couple people,” Hervey said, adding that his strongest possibilities are in “first-run syndication or cable. We also want to distribute the show internationally as a longform music special. The fact that we’re at the right venue to facilitate a television taping will help things.”

Hervey said the partners also would seek to expand the club’s reach into New York, eventually hosting one night per month in that city and two per month in L.A. Hervey also said he and Hammond are still seeking a permanent site for the club in Los Angeles. The club already has attracted notice from American Express , which has weighed in with support for the first two Roxy shows following sponsorship of the club’s closing event last summer at its former location, Twenty/20 in Century City.

“What they’re trying to do is expand their entertainment support system,” Hervey said, adding that American Express’ travel-related services unit is “looking for relations with record companies and managers that will use the travel-related services to book airfares and tours. They become part of a high-profile event that gives them the opportunity to mix and mingle with key executives who can affect the use of their (company’s) cards.”

American Express contributes money toward production of R&B Live in return for the corporate name on the invitation, several reserved seats, merchandising considerations and a company logo on the stage backdrops, Hervey said.

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