In its heyday, the Troubadour in West Hollywood was the launch pad for stars including Elton John and Jackson Browne. Now, the venue is hoping to play a larger role of its own on the global stage.
This month, the club announced a deal with newly launched 4Jacks Entertainment of Calabasas to pursue branding opportunities on TV and elsewhere.
To get started, 4Jacks co-founder and partner David Helfant said he’s focusing on booking big artists such as Browne at the venue. In turn, those live shows and their stories would be the basis for a TV series, “Live From the Troubadour.”
“The concept is trying to bring back a lot of the great artists,” he said. “For so many people, the Troubadour was their nightclub where they grew up. Everyone has a story.”
Helfant’s history with the venue goes back a ways, too. As a music manager in the early 1980s, he hustled to get his clients onto the stage. He then became the venue’s attorney for more than a decade before moving on to other jobs such as heading up business and legal affairs at Paramount Pictures’ music division.
Helfant started working on building 4Jacks as Troubadour’s licensing agent about a year ago. He was inspired in part by the role the club played in the 2011 PBS special “Troubadours: Carole King/James Taylor & the Rise of the Singer-Songwriter.”
His past relationship with club owner Ed Karayan helped him and partners Harris Wali and Steve Weber score the deal.
4Jacks and the Troubadour will share profits from the new lines of business, Helfant said. Other efforts are being made in merchandising and licensing; one possibility is opening Troubadour-branded venues around the world.
Helfant has been pitching the idea for the Troubadour-centric TV series and is targeting cable networks such as HBO, Showtime and startup cable channel AXS TV. He’s hoping to offset production costs with corporate sponsorships.
Variety en Español
Variety and Univision Communications Inc. have teamed up to bring Spanish-language showbiz news to Univision’s “Primer Impacto” news magazine program, the companies announced last week.
The two-and-a-half minute segment, called “Variety en Primer Impacto,” features daily news about Latino movie stars and other items from around Hollywood. It’s produced in the L.A. studios of Variety’s parent company, Penske Media Corp.
Part of the idea is putting Variety’s brand in front of the huge audience of Spanish speakers. “Primer Impacto” airs weekdays from 5 to 6 p.m. on Univision’s KMEX (Channel 34).
“Primer Impacto” averaged 1.8 million nightly viewers in the first quarter of the year.
“To align our Variety brand with Univision and their leading news program ‘Primer Impacto’ is the perfect alliance for targeting this critical growth demographic,” Jay Penske, chief executive at Penske Media, said in a statement.
Variety is also joining the growing legion of print publications that are increasing their video output, including Los Angeles magazine, which launched “Big Shots With Giselle Fernandez,” which streams on its website.
Variety’s show is hosted by Puerto Rican weather reporter and TV journalist Jackie Guerrido. A segment last week featured news about Jennifer Lopez receiving a humanitarian award and an interview with Sandra Bullock on a London red carpet.
Clear Channel pop stations KBIG-FM (104.3) and KIIS-FM (102.7) topped the L.A. radio ratings in May – but the station with the most buzz was further down the charts.
Both KBIG and KIIS had a 5.6 percent share of audiences polled by ratings firm Arbitron Inc. The stations traded off the top spot on the charts in the previous two months.
But perhaps the hottest topic in radio was KDAY-FM (93.5), which tied NPR affiliate KCRW-FM (89.9) for 28th place in the market with a 1.1 percent audience share in May.
What the station’s listeners lack in numbers they made up in loyalty. KDAY’s fans have been galvanized to block the sale of the station to RBC Communications of Irwindale, which has backing from Chinese investors. The sale is awaiting approval by the Federal Communications Commission.
The fear is that they could lose the station’s old-school hip-hop format to Chinese talk radio. A Facebook group was launched soon after the deal was announced in April, called “Save KDAY,” the LA Weekly recently reported.
The idea behind the group is to attract the interest of a deep-pocketed rapper – Dr. Dre or Ice Cube, for example –who could top the existing $19.5 million offer for the station, owned by Magic Broadcasting of Panama City, Fla.
The motto of the group, which had 452 members last week, draws on another historic L.A. rapper and N.W.A member: “What Would Eazy-E Do.”
Staff reporter Jonathan Polakoff can be reached at email@example.com or (323) 549-5225, ext. 226.
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