Centric To Unveil New Look During 'Soul Train Awards’ Telecast

Centric will unveil a new logo and on-air graphics package Sunday as it re-positions its brand to foucus on African-American female viewers.

The re-branding effort begins Nov. 30 with the telecast of the network’s 2014 The Soul Train Awards, which honors R&B's most talented artists, according to according to Paxton Baker, executive vice president and general manager of Centric.

The awards special, which will be hosted by talk show personality Wendy Williams, will feature appearances by Chris Brown, Trey Songz, Boris Kodjoe and Jodeci.

Baker hopes the show will top the 4.1 million viewers the network drew during last year's telecast.

The Soul Train Awards is a classic brand that grew out of the African-American experience and helped define the African-American experience on television on a weekly basis,” said Baxter, referring to the iconic Soul Train series, which aired from 1971 to 2006.

Beyond the Soul Train Awards, Baker said the network in the coming months will look to tweak its programming lineup to appeal to an African-American female audience that already represents 60% of Centric’s viewing base. Overall Centric averaged 74,000 viewers in primetime during third quarter 2014, down 6% form the same period in 2013, according to Nielsen.

Paxton said the network has several new shows in development for 2015 but would not provide specific details. The network next year will air the fourth season of the Queen Latifiah-produced show Single Ladies, which was cancelled by VH1 this past March.

Baker also said the network’s Being documentary series will profile more female entertainers and it enters its fourth season. The network will also revamp its morning lineup of music video and concert programming to feature more celebrity-hosted blocks of music fare.

Several general entertainment networks including WEtv and Oxygen are also creating programming to appeal to African-American female viewers, who watch more than seven hours of television a day -- the most of any group, according to Nielsen. Baker said however, that no other network outside Centric targets that audience on a 24-hour basis.

“No one has really claimed that space, and we see opportunity over opposition,” Baker said.

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.