Hit Parader is making a comeback, though not in the way one might remember it.
Once a prestigious music magazine, Hit Parader will be coming back this year as a film, TV and live event production company. Ash Avildsen (founder and CEO of Sumarian Records) will serve as CEO, with music media bigwig Josh Bernstein as president and journalist/media personality Matt Pinfield as VP of artist relations.
Said Bernstein about the partnership to Variety, “With Hit Parader, we saw a way to finally form the ultimate tag-team and marry our shared vision creating a rock ‘n’ roll studio focused on original content and immersive experiences.”
“We will create, produce and/or acquire original IP,” continued Avildsen about the business model. We will then do our best to get that content out to the masses and monetize it every way we can.”
“I haven’t been this excited about being on the ground floor of something as special as Hit Parader …[it] reminds me of my earliest days at MTV,” Pinfield remarks about the project later in the Variety article, revealing that his goal is “to make Hit Parader the destination for all things rock and the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle. Rock music still has the most loyal audiences in the world and they have been greatly underserved.”
The company is already touting several shows and events. Scripted series Paradise City, a TV spin-off of film American Satan, already has its first eight-episode season in the can (a trailer can be viewed here). Reality series’ No Cover, an American Idol-like show where artists perform original songs only, and Roadie Rage, what sounds like a physical challenge-type show, are both finishing up casting. A biopic about famed A&R executive Tom Zutaut is also said to be in the works.
Hit Parader will also be bringing back live events such as the Golden God Awards, an event honoring the best in metal and hard rock music that held its last ceremony in 2014, Mayhem Festival, a touring summer rock festival that last made its way across the country in 2015, and the Rock ‘N’ Roll Roast, honoring rock music elite with searing/tongue-in-cheek roasts from their fellow rockers, which ceased in 2013 after two events. Golden God and Mayhem Fest are both slated for returns in 2021.
Though the trio is resurrecting the Hit Parader name, there does not seem to be any interest currently in bringing back the magazine. Said Avildsen, “‘I think the legacy and history of Hit Parader brings a modern-day value that would take many years to recreate.”
Hit Parader could launch as early as late 2020, though their productions are at the mercy of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Even so, Bernstein is optimistic that this is the perfect time for Hit Parader to make a comeback. He concludes, “these TV shows, film projects, concerts and award shows can be a bright, shining light at the end of the tunnel for rock fans during what are currently such dark times.”
Launched in 1942 as a print magazine, ‘Hit Parader’ hit its stride in the 1980s when it became known for its coverage of the metal and hard rock genres. The magazine was last published in December 2008.