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New Moviefone Owner Revealed

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By Emily Reily

Apparently Someone Still Has Money These Days

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Cleveland O’Neal III has been announced as the new owner of entertainment site Moviefone during a March 19 firesale bankruptcy auction, paying just $1.075 million for the entity.

O'Neal is the creator and producer of “Made in Hollywood," a syndicated daytime show.

O'Neal's company, Born In Cleveland LLC, was the winning bidder of the parent company of Moviefone -- Helios and Matheson Analytics. That company was also the majority holder in MoviePass.

According to Variety, O'Neal at first wanted to stay anonymous, but clearly it's too late for that. O'Neal is also founder, president and CEO of production and distribution company Connection III Entertainment.

O'Neal released a statement about the acquisition:

“The integration of ‘Made In Hollywood’s’ TV assets with Moviefone’s iconic digital/mobile/social assets is a perfect marriage of entertainment brands providing a 360 solution for our advertising, studio, broadcast and streaming partners across multiple platforms."

Hello, and Welcome To Moviefone

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According to The Hollywood Reporter, Moviefone was originally a phone service that people used to find showtimes for movies.

It was famously parodied in an episode of "Seinfeld." Kramer decided to pretend to be the voice of Moviefone because of a phone number mixup, until the real animated voice of Moviefone came after him -- on the phone of course.

MovePass Was a Steal

Gettyimages | Joe Scarnici

MoviePass made a big splash when it first surfaced as a $9.95 monthly service which would offer people a movie ticket each day. It was clearly not a good idea financially, but people used it as much as they could until the whole thing folded.

Deadline says episodes of the "Made In Hollywood" TV franchise, now in its 15th season, can be seen in more than 107 million homes across America.

Deadline writes:

"The series is on-set, on location and behind the screen as stars and directors give viewers an up-close look at new and upcoming box office, streaming and Blu-ray movie releases. Its free, ad-supported 24/7 digital streaming network recently launched on Sinclair Broadcast Group’s STIRR streaming service and the Made In Hollywood app launched on Roku TV."

Gettyimages | Alison Buck

Variety adds that O'Neal is expected to keep Moviefone's staff and then look into new hires. In 1989, AOL acquired Moviefone for $388 million in stock. Then Helios and Matheson picked it up from Verizon's Oath in 2018 for $1 million and stock in 2018; the next year, Helios and Matheson filed for bankruptcy following the collapse of MoviePass.

O'Neal's "Made In Hollywood" has made it through 15 seasons and is now syndicated on Fox and CBS stations.

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