BET Networks on April 4 announced its acquisition of Soul Train from InterMedia Partners and The Yucaipa Companies. Terms of the purchase were not disclosed. The assets include the Soul Train brand which houses one of the largest libraries of African American, music-oriented content in the world, including over 1,100 television episodes and 40 television specials.
The iconic show was sold by its creator, Don Cornelius to InterMedia in 2008, just four years before his death. BET has aired the Soul Train Awards since 2009 over its Centric channel. This purchase brings together two of the most globally recognized brands in entertainment.
“BET Networks is honored to have acquired a brand with such a rich history and unique content that is forever relevant to all segments of our audience,” Richard Gay, Executive Vice President of Strategy and Operations at BET Networks said in a statement. “With a Broadway play and a concert tour as examples of opportunities in the works, we look forward to finding engaging and smart ways to grow the brand while preserving its heritage and legacy in music, dance and fashion.”
Tony Cornelius, the son of Soul Train’s founder, expressed enthusiasm for the news of BET’s acquisition. “I am thrilled that Viacom’s BET Networks will carry on the legacy of ‘Soul Train’ and its rich heritage of more than three decades of positive black oriented programming.”
“Its quest to provide decades of unique, original programming across multiple platforms will finally be realized under the leadership of Debra Lee, Chairman and CEO of BET Networks,” Cornelius continued in a statement. “Having a strong relationship with Richard Gay, EVP of Strategy and Operations, I look forward to continuing my trusted partnership with the BET family, who I will work with to grow my father’s iconic brand globally in unprecedented ways.”
Don Cornelius, founder of SOUL TRAIN