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
”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.