Black Family Adds Several Series

Atlanta-based Black Family Channel will add nine original series over the next two weeks in an effort to build value and awareness among African-American viewers, president of original productions Robert Townsend said.

The network, currently in 12 million households, will launch a two-hour Saturday-morning kids' block Nov. 20 -- the first specifically targeted to urban viewers, Townsend said.

The block features shows like The Thousand Dollar Bee, in which kids can win prizes for correctly spelling and using words and phrases; and Gory Stories, a scripted scary series for kids.

Also on the docket for kids: Lisa Knight and the Round Table, an issues-based talk show, and Hal Jackson’s Talented Teens, a talent show hosted by the radio personality.

The shows also will air weekday afternoons.

And a Thursday-night primetime block of original programming will kick off Nov. 25. The block includes Spoken, a reality series based on the emerging spoken-word genre; Barber Shop Critics, featuring five comedians critiquing the latest in entertainment; Black College Talent Hour,which canvasses the various college campuses for up-and-coming performers; Souled Out, a music-video-review show; and SpeakerBox, a “man-on-the-street” interview show dealing with the issues of the day.

R. Thomas Umstead

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.