L.A. Lakers Legend Earvin 'Magic' Johnson to Launch Cable Network Aspire on Comcast

6:01 AM PST 02/21/2012 by Georg Szalai
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With original shows, movies and documentaries, the channel wants to be the next BET and open up opportunities for African-American actors, directors and producers.

NEW YORK - L.A. Lakers legend Earvin "Magic" Johnson will launch Aspire, a general interest cable network aimed at the African-American community, on cable giant Comcast this summer, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The channel will have original shows, movies and documentaries, according to the report. "African-Americans have choices, and now they have another one," Johnson told the Journal, saying his goal was to create the next BET and open up opportunities for African-American actors, directors and producers. But he vowed to spend and build carefully.

Aspire is expected to be distributed on Comcast's digital basic tier, which is a limited number of homes it serves.

Comcast committed to making available more minority-owned and -focused when it acquired a controlling stake in NBCUniversal early last year. The cable giant has said it would help launch as many as 10 minority-owned channels over a decade, of which four will be majority-owned by African-Americans, according to the Journal.

Johnson's partner in the new network is Gospel Music Channel owner GMC, according to the paper. Comcast is also set to distribute in some markets a new music network called Revolt from Sean "Diddy" Combs.

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com

Twitter: @georgszalai

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