Black News Channel Names Former CNN Exec Princell Hair as CEO

Black News Channel has tapped former CNN executive Princell Hair as its president and CEO, the network announced Monday.

Hair will oversee the five month-old, African-American targeted news network’s day-to-day operations effective immediately, according to chairman and interim CEO J.C. Watts. Hair replaces former network CEO and co-founder Bob Brillante who left the company in April.

Hair is familiar with the cable news business, having served as CNN’s executive VP and general manager in 2003, where he achieved major ratings growth during key news events including the Democratic and Republican National Conventions plus CNN’s Election Night in America 2004.

Most recently Hair served as Senior VP and general manager of NBC Sports Boston. Prior to that he worked as Senior VP of news and talent for the NBC Sports Group.

“Princell's experience as a news and sports executive is unmatched for its breadth and success. As a programmer he will bring energy and fresh thinking to the Black News Channel,” said Watts in a statement. “We are delighted to welcome him and excited to see him build on the foundation we have laid with the launch of the Black News Channel.” 

Added Hair: “I am grateful to Chairman Watts and the Board of Directors for this opportunity,” said Hair. “I’m thrilled to return to daily news gathering and compelling storytelling at the only 24-hour cable news channel aimed specifically at African Americans and other people of color, as the world responds to a pandemic, systemic racism and an economic crisis, all of which disproportionately impact the Black audience. I’m equally excited to join and support the talented team of journalists and staff across BNC’s platforms as the high stakes 2020 Presidential Race enters the red zone.” 

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.