Diddy, Magic Johnson to Launch Cable Channels

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Tyler Perry also confirms plans for his own long-awaited network.

Magic Johnson, Diddy, Tyler Perry, television, Oprah Winfrey, cable channels

Coming soon to your living room...twenty-four hours of Diddy and Magic Johnson. Cable giant Comcast announced today that the company will work with the media moguls to launch their own branded channels, as part of a mandate given to Comcast to support minority-owned networks. The company has said it will launch ten such networks by 2018.

The Hall of Famer, who has overseen a successful media empire since retiring from the NBA, is preparing to launch Aspire, a 24-hour channel with a focus on what Johnson called positive, uplifting images of African Americans. Aspire's mix will include film, TV, music and comedy, with a combination of acquired projects and original programming. "There will some performing arts and shows about faith," Johnson said in a phone interview with the Los Angeles Times. Aspire will launch on June 30 and be headquartered in Atlanta, also home of Tyler Perry's studio and a booming hub for Black entertainment.

Speaking of Perry, he also recently confirmed plans for his own network to Jay Leno. Perry's venture will be in conjunction with Lionsgate, the company that distributes most of his films, and not part of the Comcast deal. The Madea creator tossed around the names TylerVision and Tyler TV as possible choices for his channel.

Diddy's network, REVOLT, will be as opposite in scope to Aspire as the name indicates. Targeting a younger demographic, REVOLT will have programming inspired by music and pop culture. The Grammy-winning rapper said that it is "the first channel created entirely from the ground up in this new era of social media." The network will launch in 2013.

The director Robert Rodriguez is behind one of two new Comcast networks targeting Latino Americans. According to the media conglomerate, the remaining six channels will also focus on African American and Latino American viewers.

The announcement comes on the heels of the launch of Oprah Winfrey's OWN network, which has been plagued by low-ratings and regime changes since starting last year. Johnson claims he is aware of the risks: "We'll learn from those who have gone before us. We understand the landscape, and we will run a sound business."

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