EXCLUSIVE: Long-running syndication variety show Showtime At the Apollo is staging a comeback, this time on BET. The cable network is finalizing a deal for a pilot order to a Showtime at the Apollo revival executive produced by Jamie Foxx and the the show’s original executive producer/director Don Weiner. If picked up to series, Showtime is expected to air as a primetime series on the cable network.
As a young producer in the late 1980s, Weiner found a video camera, taped a demo and sold Showtime at the Apollo in weekly syndication, where it launched in 1987. Weiner eventually left to work on unscripted series, including Fox’s So You Think You Can Dance. Following his departure, Showtime, which continued the tradition of The Apollo Theater’s famous Amateur Night, went through several producing teams and hosts before ending its 21-year run in 2008. Weiner recently tracked down the rights to the franchise, now owned by the nonprofit Apollo Theater Foundation, and acquired them. Then his agency, CAA, hooked him up with Foxx, who, as a young comedian had been booed off the Apollo stage. The unpleasant memories didn’t damper Foxx’s enthusiasm for the project. He immediately joined it, along with his producing partner Marcus King, who also has a connection to the original show — as a manager, he represented one of its early hosts, Mark Curry. Foxx, King and Weiner took the show out and set it up at BET. They will serve as executive producers. Weiner is also repped by attorney Brad Small, Foxx by Nina Shaw and Gordon Bobb.