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Thursday, May 19, 2022

LABJ Insider: Byron Allen Is Always Worth Watching

Byron Allen’s appetite remains voracious. The standup comic turned media mogul acquired two more television networks last week, picking up a pair of over-the-air channels from struggling MGM.

Allen Media Group added This TV and Light TV to a portfolio that includes The Weather Channel, Cars.TV, Comedy.TV and Pets.TV, as well as free streaming service Local Now and news website The Grio. 

“We’re on an acquisition track,” Allen told the Business Journal in August. The MGM purchase is the latest in a string of deals by his company. Armed with deep pockets — Allen Media Group recently engineered a $1 billion corporate refinancing — and lofty ambitions, Allen is a homegrown must-watch talent, on and off screen.

• • •

If you haven’t already voted and you’re looking for a polling place that’s more interesting than your local library, you’re in luck. 

Almost every major stadium and arena in town is serving as a vote center this year, including Staples Center, the Forum, Dodger Stadium (it’s not just for Covid testing anymore) and Banc of California Stadium.

Even brand new SoFi Stadium, which has yet to allow fans for football and other events, is hosting a vote center. You can’t go into the stadium, but you can get a peripheral peek at the city’s newest landmark.

These voting sites may be as close as we get to a major sports or entertainment event for some time, so take advantage while you make your voice heard. And don’t forget your mask.

• • •

Considering all the negatives swirling around right now, some huge positives landed in L.A.’s lap last month. With the Dodgers winning the World Series and the Lakers taking the NBA Championship, the City of Angels went a heavenly 2-for-2 in October.

Winning two titles in the same year is a remarkable achievement for any city (it has only happened once before in L.A., when the Lakers and Dodgers doubled up in 1988). Doing it in the same month? Well, that’s an “only in 2020” kind of thing.

The downside, of course, is that all the downtown restaurants and shops that would normally be buzzing with business during a postseason run were left on the sidelines this time, along with the tens of thousands of seats that went unsold at Staples Center and Dodger Stadium. 

Here’s hoping the stars align again next year, and Covid-19 ends up on the DL.

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