Last night was the official start of Magic Johnson’s Aspire Network. Comcast has partnered with Magic Johnson as well as three other minority oriented networks in an agreement mandated by the FCC in its NBC Universal deal.
“Nobody is going to mess with BET. They’re doing a great job. We understand the other guys. But we feel good about where we are. Based on the research and homework, we have a great opportunity. If everyone was satisfied already, I wouldn’t be launching Aspire”
Johnson’s Aspire network is said to offer “family-friendly” programing.
“I’m a great believer in partnerships,” Johnson said in a phone interview Monday. “If I didn’t partner with GMC, I wouldn’t be in the business. We needed someone with some expertise. I thought it was a natural fit.” The name of the network, he added, is meant to reflect the positivity he hopes will come out of the programming.
Omari Hardwick(Next Day Air, For Colored Girls, Dark Blue) will host an original two hour block of independent black features. The network will also be home to a mix of films, documentaries, music, and comedies. It has been rumored that Bill Cosby’s 1960 classic “I Spy” will get a slot.
Aspire already has exclusive deals with several advertisers, including Atlanta’s own Coca Cola, L’Oreal, Chrysler, Walmart and Nationwide Insurance.
Aspire is moving to offices in College Park next month and has hired 15 employees so far.