Comcast to Launch Networks Backed by Sean Combs, Magic Johnson and Robert Rodriguez
Comcast, the nation’s largest cable provider with more than 22 million subscribers, will distribute networks owned by NBA superstar Magic Johnson, musical artist and entrepreneur Sean “Diddy” Combs and Hollywood director Robert Rodriguez. The announcement came Tuesday from David L. Cohen, executive vp of Comcast Corporation.
Johnson’s Aspire, a partnership with GMC TV that is set to launch this summer, will deliver “enlightening, entertaining and positive programming to African-Americans families,” according to Comcast. Its programming will run the gamut from movies, documentaries, short films, music, comedy, performing arts and faith-based programs.
“Aspire will be a network that encourages and challenges African-Americans to reach for their dreams and will appeal to all generations,” Johnson said in a statement.
Combs will partner with MTV veteran Andy Schuon on Revolt, which will showcase music and pop culture programming including music videos, live performances, news and interviews with a robust social media component. The network has targeted to launch in 2013.
Revolt, said Combs, “is the first channel created entirely from the ground up in this new era of social media. We’re building this platform for artists to reach an extraordinary number of people in a completely different way. Revolt will be live, like all great moments in television history.”
El Rey, from Rodriguez and FactoryMade Ventures executives John Fogelman and Cristina Patwa, will be an English-language general entertainment network aimed at Latino audiences. El Rey will mix reality, scripted and animated series, movies, documentaries, news, music, comedy and sports programming. The network has entered into an agreement to launch by January 2014.
"This partnership with Comcast signals an important moment for the Latino community in this country – 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 and Fogelman in a joint statement.
The minority-backed networks are part of a pledge made by Comcast during its efforts to win government approval for its controlling stake in NBC Universal. A fourth minority-owned network will be operated by Spanish language television veteran Constantino “Said” Schwarz.
BabyFirst Americas, which is targeted to launch in April, is will emphasize early childhood development of verbal, math and motor skills.