Master P TV tuning up for '09


Hip-hop entrepreneur Percy Miller, aka Master P, is launching a family-friendly cable network.

Named Better Black Television, the network will provide "positive content for a black and brown culture," the company said.

BBTV, set to launch in 2009, will be a general entertainment channel running a wide range of scripted, unscripted and news programming, including drama and comedy series, movies, animation, reality, politics, sports and entertainment news, children's educational and teen programming as well as "responsible hip-hop music and videos."

Miller, founder, chairman and CEO of the new venture, declined to elaborate on who is funding the network beyond saying that there is no private-equity money involved.

"This is real entrepreneurship at its best," he said.

Deals with cable and satellite providers are "on the table," with carriage agreements news for the new network expected soon, Miller said.

At BBTV, Miller is working with advisory board whose members include Oscar winner Denzel Washington, Vault Load Films president Jim Finkl, NAACP executive director Vicangelo Bulluck, NBA player Derek Anderson, cable industry veteran Professor Sal Martino, hip-hop pioneer DJ Kool Herc, entrepreneur Olatokunbo Betiku and real estate mogul Curtis Oakes. The network's programming team is yet to be announced.

Although having some overlap in target audience with black-oriented cable channel BET, the new channel is not going to compete directly with it because BBTV will go for a broader demographic of viewers ages 6-45, said Miller, who has developing the channel for five years.

"It's such a great undeserved market," he said. "It's a big enough market share for all of us."

BBTV's first slate of original programs includes nine shows, which are in production in California, New York, Louisiana and Florida:

> "Karma TV Show," a bilingual soap opera with a black and Latino cast.

> "Sunset and Vine," a music video show hosted by Vyshonn Miller and Brittany Phillips that showcases top hip-hop and R&B acts.

> "One Shot Comedy Show," a comedy show hosted by Gary Johnson (aka G-Thing) featuring established and upcoming comedians.

> "Gee Gee the Giraffe," a children's educational show.

> "Manage Your Money," a financial advice show.

> "Close to the Starz," a celebrity magazine.

> "What's Cooking TV Show," an entertainment/cooking show.

> "The Black List Movies," a film showcase.

>"Hip-Hop Garage Show," a music show. (partialdiff)