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CN8, Symonds Set All-Star Celebrity Hoops

CN8, The Comcast Network will team up with former Black Entertainment Television executive Curtis Symonds to telecast a celebrity basketball game during the National Basketball Association’s All-Star break in Los Angeles next month.

Slated for Feb. 14, the "Champs Sports Hoop Magic Celebrity All-Star Basketball Game" pits players from the famed Rucker Park league in New York, as well as celebrities like rappers Snoop Dogg, Bow Wow and Chingy, against West Coast NBA legends, including Norm Nixon and Jamal Wilkes.

CN8 will air the event in its entirety the next evening.

Several cable operators and networks are sponsoring the charity event, including Comcast Corp., Spike TV, Time Warner Cable, Charter Communications Inc., Bright House Networks and Adelphia Communications Corp., said Symonds, whose Symonds Synergy Group has run the event since 1999.

CN8 -- which serves 6.2 million cable homes from Boston to Baltimore -- averaged a 1.5 rating for last year’s telecast, well above its 0.5 total-day average.

"It’s entertaining, it definitely finds an audience and it’s a great event to be part of," CN8 vice president and general manager Jon Gorchow said. "It’s a nice blend of basketball and music."

While CN8 will initially carry the game, Symonds said he hopes other Comcast-owned networks, like the recently launched TV One, will pick up the feed for later distribution.

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.