Thursday, July 15, 2004

Reverend Al Communications, Inc?

The Daily News' Phyllis Furman reports today that Reverend Al Sharpton, that sweet natured buffoon with the outdated bouffant, is on his way to becoming a media mogul:

"Stand by for the newest marquee on the media landscape - Rev. Al Communications Inc. Al Sharpton, the civil rights activist turned TV star, has set up his own media company and is in talks with prominent black entrepreneurs and media execs about funding and guiding his burgeoning media biz career, sources close to Sharpton said.

"'He's about to become a CEO,' a source said."

The Corsair stands utterly speechless, contemplating the former FBI informant's moxie.

"Sharpton - who already scored a reality TV show deal with cable net Spike TV and is a paid commentator for CNBC - is looking to fund everything from a TV production company to a syndicated radio program to magazine acquisitions and start-ups.

"He's been approached by two of the country's leading African-American advertising moguls, Uniworld founder Byron Lewis and GlobalHue president Don Coleman. They are looking to pour dollars into the Sharpton media venture, sources said.

"Both have been big supporters of his Madison Avenue Initiative, a group that seeks to draw ad dollars to black media.

"And Sharpton is in talks with two African-American media execs to run the organization. Frank Mercado-Valdes is the former president of Heritage Networks, a syndicator of ethnic TV shows, who had butted heads with Sharpton years ago in a bitter battle over the Apollo Theater. Keith Clinkscales is the ex-president of publisher Vanguarde Media and former CEO of Vibe magazine.

"Despite his media ambitions, Sharpton told the Daily News that his primary focus will continue to be his civil rights group National Action Network. He will also be campaigning heavily for John Kerry and is slated to address the Democratic National Convention.

"'I want to do TV and radio as long as it doesn't interfere with my charitable work,' Sharpton said, calling in yesterday from L.A. where he was on the set of his Spike TV show 'I Hate My Job.'"

The Corsair wants to do TV and radio as long as it doesn't interfere with his Cutty Sark.

"But the Sharpton company marks the next big step for the former presidential candidate who earlier this year hired William Morris to field TV and radio offers. Sharpton's also being guided by his longtime spokeswoman Rachel Nordlinger and entertainment manager Bruce Charet."

Let me get this straight, Al Sharpton has an "entertainment manager"? Can someone say "Hollywood"?

"William Morris has been holding talks with leading radio syndicators, including ABC Radio Networks, Premiere Radio networks and Westwood One as well as satellite radio company Sirius. The goal is to turn Sharpton into the Rush Limbaugh of the left."

Well, Rush and Al do occupy approximately the same volume ...

"When asked about the prospects of making serious money at this stage in his career, Sharpton said, 'I certainly haven't made money before.'

"'I will involve black companies. I am going to open opportunities,' he added."

Mi vida loca.

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