NEW YORK — Cash transfusions from investment bankers have restored the bankrupt TV syndicator Heritage Networks, which plans to ramp up the production and distribution of programming aimed at the hip-hop community.
Under the name Heritage Media Group, company will continue to distribute the long-running “Weekend Vibe” hip-hop music hour, as well as two syndicated movie packages, one featuring classic titles and the other more recent pictures such as “Pluto Nash” with Eddie Murphy.
“We’re also trying to clear a new show that I refer to as MTV’s ‘Cribs’ meets ‘Celebrity Poker,’ ” said Chas Walker, the banker and media entrepreneur who has supervised the restructuring and will take over as chief exec of HMG. “Hip Hop Hold ‘Em” is the title of the proposed syndicated weekly hour scheduled for fall.
Walker said he also wants to lease off-network series for domestic syndication; contracts have lapsed on reruns previously distributed by Heritage Networks such as “Moesha,” “The Parkers” and “Resurrection Blvd.”
First Bank & Trust of New Orleans financed Walker’s formation of HMG, and the media investor Peter V. Miller, an HMG director, is spearheading the drive to draw up to $50 million to beef up distribution, advertising sales and production.
Walker said HMG will establish its headquarters and main production facility in New Orleans, with an office in New York for ad sales and the taping of “Weekend Vibe” and an office in Los Angeles for production and distribution of movies and TV series.
The management team under Walker includes Matt Cooperstein, president of distribution; Lynne McDaniel, senior VP of entertainment and general manager; Al Baker, chief financial officer; Willow Sanchez, general counsel; and the chief restructuring officer Kevin Wiley, who will stay on as a consultant.