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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Southern California

Magic Johnson Launching TV Network This Summer

The network will focus on showing African Americans in an inspirational light.

NBA Hall of Famer and former Lakers star Magic Johnson will launch his own television network on June 30.

The channel is called Aspire. Its purpose is to show positive, uplifting images of African Americans. The network will have film, TV, music, comedy, performing arts, and shows about faith.

“Aspire will be a network that encourages and challenges African-Americans to reach for their dreams,” Johnson told the Associated Press. “It will celebrate our heritage, our groundbreaking achievements, and the fearless talent that has shaped American culture.”

The network will also feature projects and original programming, which will offer opportunities to African Americans who have struggled to find work in mainstream Hollywood.

“This is big for myself, for the African American community and the African American creative community. I wanted a vehicle to show positive images and to have stories written, produced and directed by African Americans for our community,” said Johnson in an interview with the Los Angeles Times.

Comcast Corp. will launch the network, the first of 10 new independently owned cable channels that will be launched as part of agreements with the FCC and Department of Justice after Comcast acquired NBCUniversal.

Aspire is partnering with GMC TV. Its headquarters will be in Atlanta.

Johnson will serve as chief executive, but does not plan on picking shows. Eric Holoman will be chief operating officer.

Financial details have not been disclosed, but according to Johnson, “We’ll learn from those who have gone before us. We understand the landscape and we will run a sound business.”

When Aspire launches, it will be available in 11 million Comcast customers’ homes.

COMMENTS

I love it! Do they have a physical address yet in Atlanta? And can you submit programming yet? Thank God for Magic Johnson. I appreciate you opening doors to new opportunities for African-Americans!

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