Comcast to Drop Fuse Channel in New Year

AP Photo/Susan Walsh
Brian Roberts, Comcast CEO

The multicultural-focus cable network is owned in part by Jennifer Lopez.

Comcast, the U.S. cable provider, announced Sunday that it will be dropping Fuse, a multicultural-focus cable network partially owned by Jennifer Lopez, from its services in the new year. 

“Despite Comcast’s publicly-stated commitment to support diverse and independently operated networks, Comcast has elected to drop Fuse, a multicultural-focused television network, on Dec. 31, after more than a decade of carriage. This decision is both surprising and troubling considering that Fuse met Comcast's financial demands and no other requirements were ever communicated to us,” Michael Schwimmer, president and CEO of Fuse Media, said in a statement.

Fuse's contract with Comcast expires Dec. 31.

“We have been dedicated from the very beginning to providing opportunities for diverse creative talent to entertain and inform diverse communities," said Schwimmer. "By removing our network from its consumer offering, Comcast is silencing yet another independent media company, in this case one that is devoted to providing a platform for inclusive voices and authentic representation at a uniquely important time in our society.”

Comcast issued its own statement in response to the change in programming on Monday. “We regularly evaluate our channel lineups and sometimes make changes to ensure we’re offering customers a wide variety of the content that they want to see at the best value. Comcast carries over 160 independent networks and more than 100 networks geared toward diverse audiences, including multiple networks owned or operated by minorities," the statement read.

Comcast went on to address the dropping of Fuse, specifically: “In this case, much of the content carried by Fuse is similar to content that also is available on other networks, such as BET, BET Her, TV One, Bounce TV and Pop. We also are launching two new African American majority owned networks, AFRO and CLEO TV. We understand that some customers may find Fuse’s programming of interest, and we will work with them to find options that will help them continue to watch other content like this programming.”

Earlier this year, Comcast acquired 75 percent of Sky broadcasting in one of the biggest acquisition deals of 2018.