The Apollo Theater has teamed up with CAA with the aim of expanding the Harlem venue’s brand internationally and generating new revenue that would support the ongoing programming and education intiatives of the non-profit org that runs the theater.
BET’s upcoming “Apollo Live!” reps the first project to stem from the partnership with CAA. The skein, launching in December on BET’s sibling cabler Centric, is based on the Apollo’s well-known weekly Amateur Night competish. Tony Rock hosts a series exec produced by Jamie Foxx with Marcus King and Don Weiner, with Gladys Knight, Doug E. Fresh and Michael Bivens (of New Edition and Bel Biv DeVoe) on board as contestant advisers.
Alongside tube initiatives, Apollo leadship also hopes to expand the brand into areas including doc films, new media, touring, publishing, commercial endorsements and licensing.
“The licensing opportunity is really something that has legs,” said Jonelle Procope, prexy and chief exec of the Apollo Theater Foundation. “Apollo Live!” is a licensing effort, and Procope cites the heavy tourist component of the audiences at the theater’s amateur night — attracting crowds of which an average of 50% are out-of-towners, both domestic and international — as a mark of the Apollo’s global reach.
The non-profit foundation, with a base of 50 full-time employees and an operating budget of $10 million, aims to use the additional coin from its brand expansion to fuel the org’s growing lineup of programming (such as Amateur Night and the Apollo Music Cafe) as well as education offerings including internships in behind-the-scenes skills and master classes for midcareer pros.