There was a time when Steve Harvey was just another successful comedian, but today he’s much more. The West Virginia native carries titles like author, entrepreneur and businessman as well and is laughing his way to the bank in the process. Harvey stays busy as host of his popular self-titled radio show and Family Feud, author of several best-selling books, his own television program on Centric TV, and a charity foundation. This week, Harvey and Ford will co-host their Ninth Annual Hoodie Awards, a community-oriented awards show that honors top businesses, schools, and leaders. Based on Harvey’s ever-growing brand, BlackEnterprise.com decodes Steve’s funny money. —William E. Ketchum III
THE ORIGINAL CASH KING OF COMEDY
Directed by Spike Lee, The Original Kings of Comedy is one of Harvey’s primary claims to fame, as he served as both the master of ceremonies and as one of the marquee comics for the 2000 concert film. Produced on a $3,000,000 budget, Kings more than tripled its investment in its opening weekend (over $11 million) and went on to gross over $38 million at the box office. That’s not even including the eventual DVD release, or the funds made from Harvey’s actual touring with the other three comedians while the film’s footage was being recorded. Harvey continues to tour and release comedy DVDs.
On-air for decades, Family Feud got a boost of new energy when Harvey was named host of the Florida-based game show. According to Orlando Sentinel, the show’s ratings have increased 40 percent since the same time in the previous year—364 percent at noon, and 59 percent at 6pm. Much of the increase is Harvey’s tried and true fan base: women in the age ranges of 18-to-49 and 25-to-54.
TALKING BIG MONEY
In 2005, The Steve Harvey Morning Show was partnered in a joint syndication deal with Premiere Radio Networks and Inner City Broadcasting Corporation. The widely popular show went on to replace the worshipped Tom Joyner Morning Show in Chicago on WVAZ. Harvey flaunts an audience of more than 7 million people, and airs in 64 markets. On average, a 30-second ad on the show garners quote rates of $8,650 and $1,850 for weekday and weekends, respectively.
CUT FROM A DIFFERENT CLOTH
Passionate about fashion and the owner of hundred of head-turning suits, Harvey took his highly recognizable image to new heights when he launched his Steve Harvey Collection. The full line includes everything the well-dressed man would desire—from suits, shirts and ties to shoes, accessories, loungewear and headwear. Covering all his basis, Harvey even has a Young Kings line for the children and young men to get an early start at following in his fashionable footsteps. Available in 39 states, as well as Quebec and British Columbia, the Steve Harvey Collection is just another profitable entry in the comedic businessman’s portfolio.
MAKING NET WORTH FROM NETWORKS
Harvey’s self-titled TV show on the WB Network may no longer be airing new episodes, but it had a hell of a run. The show never averaged below two million viewers in any of its six seasons, including its peak of 4.1 million in 1998 and its final numbers of 3 million. Harvey and co-star Cedric The Entertainer also won several NAACP Image Awards for the show, and viewers can enjoy rerun episodes in syndication. The WB Network later brought Harvey aboard to host the comedy/variety show Steve Harvey Big Time Challenge, but it only lasted two seasons (2003-2005). These days, Centric TV houses The Steve Harvey Project, a nightly rendition of the aforementioned radio show.
Harvey’s self-published debut Steve Harvey Big Time is tough to find these days, but fans can find copies of his self-help book for women Act Like A Lady, Think Like A Man in droves. In fact, more than 2.5 million copies have been sold to date. The book positioned Harvey as a relationship guru and is the basis of an upcoming film that features stars like Gabrielle Union, Michael Ealy, Kevin Hart and Taraji P. Henson. His following, 2010’s Straight Talk No Chaser, became his second Top 10 New York Times bestseller.
GIVING BACK IN BUNCHES
When he’s not orchestrating one of his many moneymaking endeavors, Harvey handles his self-titled foundation that mentors young men from underprivileged backgrounds. In his first gala for the foundation last year, actor Denzel Washington donated $1 million to the cause, while other contributors offered an additional $500,000.