Magic Johnson partners with Comcast to launch Aspire cable network

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Retired NBA player and business mogul Earvin “Magic” Johnson has partnered with Comcast to launch his own cable network targeted at African-Americans. Johnson’s “inspirational-themed” channel, Aspire, is expected to air within the next year, and is just one of an expected ten minority-targeted networks to be developed over the next decade.

There is also talks of Diddy launching a music service called Revolt as part of the same deal (although Comcast won’t confirm a commitment to either channel.) The planned networks emerge out of Comcast’s contract with NBCUniversal that allowed it to assume control as of 2011, under the condition that it follow through on expanding its minority outreach. The Hollywood Reporter has the full story:

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.

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