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AT&T, DirecTV Launch Aspire

AT&T and DirecTV will each launch the Magic Johnson-founded Aspire network as part of a new affiliation agreement with the African-American targeted service, the companies announced Monday.  

AT&T will also add UP network to its U-verse lineup as part of the deal. The family-friendly UP network, which is already on DirecTV’s lineup, negotiates affiliation deals for Aspire.

"We're pleased to bring these great channels that serve family audiences and expand entertainment options on both our U-verse and DirecTV platforms," said Dan York, chief content officer at AT&T in a statement. "With these networks come a diverse array of voices and perspectives that build on the wide variety of programming we carry today."

Added Aspire chairman and CEO Johnson: "“We salute AT&T for recognizing the value that Aspire brings to their customers with programming that is relatable, relevant and positive.  This is a fantastic way for us to close out a very successful year. Aspire will continue to provide a real and authentic view of the African-American community."

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.