It may seem like a big change for a thirty-one-year-old scion of the Park Cities, but Reid Slaughter, founder of the Park Cities People weekly, has joined forces with popular K-104 sports director Chris Arnold to produce “On the Beam,” a weekly show focusing on black entertainment. The show premieres September 30 at 11 p.m. on Channel 21, with a strong lead-in from “The Arsenio Hall Show.”
Actually, “On the Beam” grew out of “The Beam,” an all-music video show Arnold hosted for almost four years on Channel 33. The show was produced on a shoestring and was little more than a promo piece for K-104, but it was regularly seen by more than half the black households in Dallas.
After K-104 program director Michael Spears (who owned the rights to the show) left to pursue other interests, Arnold came to Slaughter seeking financial backing to repackage the show and take it national. Slaughter, who sold his paper in 1988 for $1.2 million, plowed $400,000 into the project. When “On the Beam” was tested in cities like New York, Philadelphia, and Detroit, it beat out such entertainment staples as “Soul Train” and “American Bandstand.” Arnold adds that in Atlanta, the show was a two-to-one favorite over Mr. Late Night himself, David Letter-man. Major sponsors already on board. Slaughter says, include Pepsi, Kentucky Fried Chicken, and Coors.
Arnold and Slaughter met and became friends through the agent for Spud Webb, the tiny NBA superstar, when Slaughter was writing a bio of Webb. Arnold, who says he’s always wanted to do “a black ’Entertainment Tonight,’” cohosts with former model Man Arita. Slaughter will write dialogue, produce some segments, and oversee the business side.
“We’ll be stressing what’sright with blacks,” Slaughtersays. “We’re not going to focuson crack and scandal as muchassuccess stories.”