July 11, 2009 / 3:25 AM / 9 years ago

"Soul Train" vaults opened for DVD deal

NEW YORK (Billboard) - Fans of television’s long-running “Soul Train” will now have the chance to purchase DVDs of the pioneering dance show.

Soul Train Holdings has partnered with Direct Holdings Americas Inc., granting the latter the domestic home video and worldwide clip licensing rights to the “Soul Train” library.

During its 35-year run, “Soul Train” evolved into a mainstream cultural institution that played host to such R&B and pop icons as Al Green, Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, The Jackson 5, Prince, Elton John, Whitney Houston, Justin Timberlake and Beyonce. All told, the “Soul Train” library houses more than 1,100 hours of archival footage. The show’s last new episodes aired in 2006.

Direct Holdings’ Time Life brand will produce and distribute DVDs of vintage “Soul Train” episodes and launch a comprehensive marketing campaign to license show clips worldwide.

The announcement comes a year after the famed music variety show’s longtime host/producer/owner Don Cornelius sold the franchise to MadVision Entertainment. Los Angeles-based Soul Train Holdings, a union formed between MadVision and Intermedia Partners, is headed by co-CEOs Peter Griffith and Kenard Gibbs.

The clip licensing half of the agreement is already under way. Show clips can be viewed at globalimageworks.com. Fans can also visit the Soul Train YouTube channel. Regarding the DVD rollout, Griffith said music clearances are still being processed. Once that is completed, the company will determine its initial release slate and other details.

In the meantime, BET’s new Centric channel will bring back the Soul Train Awards this November. The channel is licensing old episodes of the dance show for broadcast as well. And a “Soul Train” documentary is being developed for VH1, according to Griffith. Also in discussion for next year: a new “Soul Train” show.

“We’re talking to some very well-known producers,” Griffith said. “It would have to be updated for today’s world of competitive reality programing like ‘American Idol’ and ‘Dancing With the Stars.’ It’s not something we take lightly. We want to do it with the same kind of passion and respect that Don had.”

Editing by SheriLinden at Reuters

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