Earvin "Magic" Johnson & Sean Combs Launching Their own New Cable TV Networks

Television
by Tambay A. Obenson
February 21, 2012 10:26 AM
13 Comments
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First... this morning, P Diddy, aka Sean Combs announced plans to launch a music-themed cable TV network called Revolt.

According to the New York Times, the new channel, which will include a mix of 24/7 music and news content could debut at the end of this year.

Comcast has already signed up to carry the channel, while Time Warner is said to be in talks.

My quick thoughts? Pointless. The resources going into Revolt could go into something that's actually lacking. I see no need for another 24/7 music and news cable TV channel. I'm sure it'll eventually include reality TV shows. 

Second... Earvin "Magic" Johnson is also launching his own cable TV network, to be called Aspire - this one aimed specifically at the African American audience. Yup, another new TV network targeted at black folks in this country.

The question I continue to ask is, where is all the content to feed these channels going to come from? Are they all going to be regurtitating old TV shows and films? Should producers/filmmakers/writers/etc be excited at what could be new opportunities for them to sell their black-themed projects?

According to the WSJ, Aspire will have original shows, movies and documentaries.

Magic Johnson told the Journal that his goal is to create the next BET.

What does that mean exactly? *Shrug*

BET has only recently started to revamp its lineup with original fresh programming, so maybe all this new competition could be a good thing for black content creators as well as more variety for black TV audiences.

But as someone who doesn't watch much TV at all, I can't say I'm at all moved by any of this news. I'll wait to see the results in another year or two.

No word on when Aspire will launch.

But I should note that these new networks are all part of a new initiative Comcast announced last year, I believe it was, to increase minority ownership of cable TV channels, with plans to launch as many as 10 new networks over the next 10 years, a quarter of them owned by non-whites.

Although I should say that, when this new initiative was first announced, I was hopeful for black indie producers, and that one of these new networks would go to a pitch that sold a channel that didn't necessarily look like all the others. 

Ho-hum...

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13 Comments

  • Ash | March 12, 2012 1:08 PMReply

    Isn't Tyler Perry getting his own channel too? I agree, I don't know what the hell all these stations are going to put on their networks. I guess we'll have to wait and see... Also, Magic, you don't want to make another BET. I'm hoping you meant you wanted to make something BETTER than BET.

  • Vi | March 12, 2012 12:28 PMReply

    We nd 2 support the new comers not not these heavy weights like diddy, Oprah and magic
    Theirs a station called onit that's supposed 2 come out
    This summer with all original programming like a new tbs
    And the majority of the people in control are minority's

  • Micah | February 22, 2012 10:58 AMReply

    Does anyone else see a lot of defunct Cable stations in the future? Maybe the few good shows on each network will all end up on one and make a super network. What? I can dream can't I?

  • Micah | February 22, 2012 11:01 AM

    I hope we don't get a lot of Lowest Common Denominator TV from these networks competing for ratings.

  • biwtican | February 21, 2012 1:57 PMReply

    this is the same old trick. flood the market with 6 or 7 stations, get them to fight over a audience that can support 3, they destroy each other, we have no black stations once again. do we have to keep falling for the same plantation trick???

  • Malik | February 21, 2012 10:55 PM

    Yes, because no one else consumes Black culture but Black people.

  • sandra | February 21, 2012 1:53 PMReply

    Why?

  • Rodney | February 21, 2012 11:48 AMReply

    The L.A. Times reported that Aspire's launch date is in June.

    I hear you on the programming question. They also need deep pockets to absorb the losses in the early years - like Orpah has with Discovery.

    I hope they're not being set up to fail. While Comcast made a promise to launch these channels, they never said anything about ensuring their survivial.

  • Rodney | February 21, 2012 2:15 PM

    Spellcheck: that's "Oprah" and "survival"

  • Rick Smith | February 21, 2012 11:42 AMReply

    Great News!!! Especially for AA Filmmakers and Content Creators, this will open a whole new market for our products. As an African American Filmmaker, I have had to turn my products over to people who seem to have no problem when they use it to spearhead their projects and get them greenlighted, however when I take that very same product in, they look at me and tell me, and say "Sorry, we are not looking for urban fair at this time." The main reason is we don't have the outlets, well that was correct up till now, with Opra, Magic, and Diddy getting into the game, this has the opportunity to change. We think we see, good positive TV that shows us in a good light, only happens rarely, we are being force fed an agenda and have been for a while, because we aren't in charge of choosing the programming. This is definately are great thing....

    Rickey Ricardo Smith
    iMachine Films

  • illthoughts | February 21, 2012 11:31 AMReply

    Great post Tambay. My sentiments exactly. A bunch of black networks are popping up all over the place but for what? We need original programming not five networks who show a vast amount of reruns. We need a 24 with a black lead. Something like The Closer with a black woman as the star. We need original content that is top notch so we can see our beloved actors and actresses of color who have been denied work in Hollywhite. This is so frustrating that it is depressing.

  • LeonRaymond | February 21, 2012 10:47 AMReply

    Be Afraid, be very Afraid!!!

  • Adam Scott Thompson | February 21, 2012 10:44 AMReply

    Magic: Thumbs up. Diddy: Thumbs down.

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