Earvin “Magic” Johnson Buys ‘Soul Train’ Rights

Earvin “Magic” Johnson Buys ‘Soul Train’ Rights

According to the NY Post, Earvin “Magic” Johnson and his business partners have bought the rights to the Soul Train franchise for “several million dollars,” and are planning an upcoming musical based on the life of Don Cornelius.

The musical, which is being aimed towards Broadway, will focus on the once mega-hit variety show.

Soul Train Holdings LLC, the entity created by NBA legend and entrepreneur Earvin “Magic” Johnson when he bought the “Soul Train” library and brand last year, has a lot of ideas. Among them are bringing a “Soul Train” variety show back to television, CEO Kenard Gibbs told The Associated Press. There have been discussions with writers about taking “Soul Train” to Broadway, Gibbs said, and also in the works are film opportunities, potential book deals and, in 2013, the first “Soul Train” cruise.

“The brand itself, we believe, has far, far other entertainment-based tentacles we can stretch,” Gibbs said.

During a memorial for Cornelius in Los Angeles last week, Johnson assured Cornelius’ son Tony, “The brand that your father has created will last a lifetime.”

Black Entertainment Network LLC, BET, and Centric TV, a BET Network, also has rights to the Soul Train brand and name, and have revamped the Soul Train Awards, which have aired on BET Networks since 2009. The awards show has been the network’s second highest-rated special, said Paxton Baker, Centric executive vice president and general manager.

Baxter said the show has held its own and plans are under way for a tribute to Cornelius for this year’s show, planned for broadcast Nov. 25, keeping its Sunday-after-Thanksgiving air date tradition, on BET and Centric.

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