The ‘Train’ has left the station

Posted: June 20, 2008 in Our Expression, Remember

Next stop for “Soul Train” is new ownership

By Kimberly Nordyke

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) – Don Cornelius has sold his “Soul Train” franchise to MadVision Entertainment, a multimedia company specializing in branded urban content and production.

The deal gives MadVision production rights to the weekly “Soul Train” series along with a catalog of more than 1,100 hours of archival footage from the show’s 37-year run.

“Soul Train,” which has featured artists from Aretha Franklin to Michael Jackson, airs in syndication. New episodes haven’t been produced since 2006, but it’s understood that MadVision is considering putting the show back into production at some point.

“The ‘Soul Train’ legacy and brand are of the utmost importance to me and to ‘Soul Train’s’ millions of fans,” Cornelius said. “After years of offers, I feel the time is now finally right to pass the torch. The MadVision team understands and respects my vision.” (more…)

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The problem with Cornelius’ vision was that it could not make a successful jump into the digital age that did not include watching other people dance. Once upon a time dancing shows was big business in this country. As kids, many of us would gather around and watch the latest dance moves and try to repeat them at the next party. Today, we have YouTube. Cornelius tried to bridge this gap by getting younger hosts like comedian Mystro Clark and later Shemar Moore to take his hosting spot (a very frightening move if you ask me–picking Shemar). Eventually he moved into the world of music award shows (like we really needed another one of those). Unfortunately, the East coast/West coast rap rivalry that reared its ugly head on that show back in ’96 along with the competition from other Black music awards shows proved to be a catalyst in the slow death of the Soul Train Music Awards.

Don Cornelius deserves all the props in the world for helping to expose so many Black artists to a nation at that time was infatuated with music and dance via American Bandstand. While this may appear to be good news for the Soul Train franchise, I am convinced that just as I am not able to go back in time and eat my grandma’s buttah cake, some things just cannot be recycled.

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Comments
  1. C.P. Lehman says:

    There’s a new book out about the show, called A CRITICAL HISTORY OF SOUL TRAIN ON TELEVISION. It looks at the show from its start in Chicago in 1970 to the national franchise of 2008. It contains interviews with former dancers, guests, and colleagues of Cornelius.
    This is the weblink. http://www.mcfarlandpub.com/book-2.php?id=978-0-7864-3669-9

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