You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Music Moguls of the Year: Already a Success in TV, Nick Cannon Eyes Oprah-Level Domination

It wouldn’t be that hard to consume Nick Cannon- related content around the clock, starting with his daily radio show on Los Angeles hip-hop station Power 106, “Nick Cannon Mornings,” and ending with the MTV late-night improv staple “Wild ’N Out” (recently renewed through Season 16). In between, one might catch an episode of Fox’s “The Masked Singer” or Nickelodeon’s “Lip Sync Battle Shorties,” not to mention basic cable airings of “Drumline” or “Love Don’t Cost a Thing.” It’s a rare entertainer who has that kind of reach, and some of the success can be credited to the fact that Cannon is strategic about the projects he gets involved with, basing them around a common theme. “Music is always the heartbeat,” he says.

Cannon describes himself as an “entrepretainer” (“an all-around entertainer and an all- around entrepreneur”). The term “mogul” doesn’t sit as well with him. “When you hear ‘mogul,’ you think about power or being the head or a boss,” he explains. “The definition of entrepreneur is they’ll jump out the window and figure out the landing on the way down, one of those people who is really willing to step out on his vision and risk it all for their craft or their business.”

That’s textbook Cannon, who is developing content for all media all the time. Getting his start as a warm-up act for Nickelodeon’s live shows, he then landed a spot on “All That”in 1998. Today his credits include comedian, actor, writer, executive producer, director, host and hip-hop artist — all under the banner of his own NCredible Entertainment, launched in 2009 (the same year Cannon took on the role of chairman at Nickelodeon’s TeenNick, becoming one of the youngest black network executives at just 28). “I feel like I’m still getting started, that I just got my sea legs,” he says.

Nick Cannon

On tap for 2020, he’s set to make a bigger splash as a musician, hinting at upcoming projects including a new album. “I’ve kind of been a silent wizard … but I’ve got a couple moves I’m going to make,” says Cannon. “When you think of the entertainers of yesteryear, you had to be able to do it all,” he says, citing Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr. as examples. “They not only had to have big-business acumen, but they also had to be able to sing, dance, act, produce films, do television specials, play instruments. … I think the universe is circling back to those times and to that energy where we expect our entertainers and entrepreneurs to operate on multiple platforms.”

Cannon wants to follow in the footsteps of his own mentors, Will Smith and Quincy Jones. “They opened my eyes to how to maneuver in this industry and to be a genuine, solid good person,” says the father of three. “And to do for others and create opportunities and not always make it about yourself.”

Still, his sights are firmly set on the ultimate entrepretainer: “I’m out here chasing Oprah. That’s my goal,” says Cannon. “You’ve got to aim for the top, and she’s the queen. She’s probably the only person who has crossed every platform. And her philanthropic efforts, her effect on culture — from television shows to films to networks to magazines — that’s what I want.”

More Biz

  • Deborah Dugan

    Reports of Ousted Grammy Chief Demanding $22 Million Are 'Outrageous,' Sources Say

    UPDATED: As the war of words between the Recording Academy and ousted president/CEO Deborah Dugan continues to escalate, interim boss Harvey Mason Jr. today issued a statement to the Academy’s membership about Dugan’s alleged misconduct and warned about “leaks and misinformation.” The letter claims that Dugan’s attorney Bryan Freedman sought “millions of dollars” for his [...]

  • Frontrunners Emerge As BBC's Tony Hall

    Frontrunners Emerge as BBC Boss Tony Hall Set to Leave Broadcasting Behind

    As the U.K. industry reacts to news of Tony Hall’s intention to depart the BBC this July, top-level executives including Charlotte Moore and Tim Davie as well as external contenders such as Channel 4’s Alex Mahon are beginning to emerge. Variety understands that Lord Hall, who has headed the BBC for seven years as director [...]

  • Recording Academy President/CEO Deborah Dugan participates

    Executive Assistant Preparing Lawsuit Against Ousted Grammy Chief

    In the latest twist in the increasingly bitter exit of Deborah Dugan from the Recording Academy after just five months, the ousted president/CEO is about to face a lawsuit from her former assistant, Claudine Little, who has retained former Harvey Weinstein/ Charlie Walk attorney Patty Glaser to represent her, two sources tell Variety. The news was [...]

  • Two Rivers Media Buys Out Parent

    Two Rivers Media Buys Out Parent Kew Media Group's Stake In Business

    Two Rivers Media has bought out parent group Kew Media Group’s minority stake in the business. Formed by former STV Productions head Alan Clements in January 2019, the production outfit behind Channel 5’s recent “Susan Hill’s Ghost Story” launched with the backing of Kew, Noble Grossart Investments and Channel 4’s Indie Growth Fund. Noble Grossart [...]

  • Grammy Awards 60th Annual Grammy Awards,

    Recording Academy Paid Millions Annually to Outside Law Firms

    Among the concerns listed in a memo sent to the Recording Academy’s head of HR by president/CEO Deborah Dugan before she was placed on administrative leave Thursday was an item about the organization’s “exorbitant and unnecessary” legal fees to outside law firms, according to sources familiar with the document. According to the most recent 990 [...]

  • Chuck D of Public EnemyGods of

    Public Enemy’s Chuck D Slams Grammys Over Deborah Dugan Ouster

    Chuck D, frontman of Public Enemy — who are receiving the Lifetime Achievement Awards at the Grammys next week — posted a long statement on Instagram criticizing the Recording Academy over its sudden ousting of new president/CEO Deborah Dugan yesterday. Dugan, who had been in the job only five months, was placed on administrative leave after [...]

  • Any Given Wednesday With Bill Simmons

    Spotify in Talks to Acquire Bill Simmons' The Ringer: Report

    Spotify is in early talks to acquire The Ringer, the digital content and podcast network launched by ESPN alum Bill Simmons in 2016, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. A representative for Spotify declined to comment on the report. Reps for Ringer did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Spotify’s [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content