Comcast to start new minority-owned cable channels

Comcast will launch four minority-owned networks on its cable-TV

systems in the next two years, including channels spearheaded by

music mogul Sean ”P. Diddy” Combs and NBA great Magic


Two of the networks are majority black-owned while two are

majority American-Hispanic-owned, with all of them programming in

English, the Philadelphia-based Comcast said.

It was unclear how much of an on-camera role, if any, Combs and

Johnson might play on their respective network.

The new channels, which in all will total 10 rolling out in the

next eight years, are part of an agreement reached by Comcast with

the FCC and Department of Justice when it was allowed to become

majority owner of NBCUniversal.

The networks announced Tuesday include:

– Revolt, conceived by Combs and MTV veteran Andy Schuon, will

have programming that includes music videos, live performances,

music news and interviews.

”Revolt is the first channel created entirely from the ground

up in this new era of social media,” said Combs, who described the

channel as ”immediate, like today’s social networks.”

In a video posted on YouTube, Combs said Revolt will put artists

in charge.

”It’s your channel to do what you want to do, how you want to

do it,” he said, addressing them, with the result ”uncut, raw,


Revolt is scheduled to launch in 2013.

– Aspire, to be led by Johnson in partnership with

family-oriented channel GMC TV, will dedicate itself to

enlightening and positive programming aimed at black families. It

will air movies, documentaries, music and comedy, as well as faith

and inspirational programs.

”Aspire will be a network that encourages and challenges

African-Americans to reach for their dreams,” said Johnson, adding

that it ”will celebrate our heritage, our groundbreaking

achievements and the fearless talent that has shaped American


It will launch this summer.

– El Rey, proposed by Hollywood director Robert Rodriguez and

FactoryMade Ventures executives John Fogelman and Cristina Patwa,

is designed to be an action-packed, general entertainment network

for Latino and general audiences. The programming mix will include

reality, scripted and animated series, and will feature Hispanic

producers, celebrities and public figures.

”We are passionate about creating a wildly entertaining

destination that we can be proud of by appealing to both Latino and

mass market audiences,” said Rodriguez, a successful filmmaker

known for the ”Spy Kids” films.

El Rey is scheduled to debut by January 2014.

– BabyFirst Americas, from Spanish-language TV veteran

Constantino ”Said” Schwarz, is designed for infants and very

young children, as well as their parents. It will emphasize the

importance of early development of verbal, math and motor skills,

the network said.

”BabyFirst Americas aims to bring the essential academic

building blocks for kindergarten readiness into the home,” Schwarz


The first of the networks to arrive, it is planned to be on the

air this April.

These four networks, and the six others yet to be announced, are

being chosen from more than 100 proposals, Comcast said. Each will

be added as part of Comcast’s digital basic tier of service.

The company, which is the nation’s largest cable TV provider,

did not mention in its announcement other cable systems planning to

carry the new networks.