One of America’s longest-running series, Soul Train, is finally back on track. The once “must see” music show has been purchased by a new owner who promises to resurrect Soul Train in a new fashion.
Soul Train started airing in Chicago on August 17, 1970 and showcased many R&B and soul artists. An immediate success, Soul Train was quickly syndicated and began airing in selected cities across the US. The show’s home base moved to Los Angeles in 1972 where it remains today. Don Cornelius, the series’ creator, served as host until 1993 when he was replaced by a series of guest hosts. Mystro Clark took over full-time in 1997, Shemar Moore replaced him in 1999, and Dorian Gregory began hosting in 2003.
The music show is billed as “the longest running, first-run, nationally syndicated program in television history.” Soul Train aired original episodes from 1970 until the 2005 — 2006 season. After that, compilation episodes began airing as The Best of Soul Train.
MadVision Entertainment has recently purchased the rights to Soul Train from Cornelius. The 71-year-old series creator didn’t have a problem letting go and told the NY Times, “Thirty-five years is a long time.”
The new owner has announced that they’ll be producing new episodes of the popular series. Their plan is to delve deeper into the hit show’s archives for the older viewers and to produce new shows for younger generations.
MadVision is also interested in bringing Soul Train’s brand into new mediums and exploring other new opportunities. Peter Griffith, co-founder of MadVision, said, “The series has never been shown on DVD, and it’s not been utilized on video-on-demand or mobile or Internet platforms.”
This may not be an easy venture because, as the Times observes, the company will likely have to make new deals with artists for the music rights. These kinds of issues have led to delaying other TV shows’ releases on DVD for quite some time.
There’s no word on how all of this will affect the Soul Train movie that was announced in April. Cornelius revealed that he’d made a deal with Warner Bros. to develop a buddy picture called Soul Train: The Movie. The story follows a pair of male dancers from the TV show who get in over their heads.