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Comcast Commits To Four Minority-Owned Networks

Comcast has reached agreements with four minority-owned independent networks, a pair of English-language services aimed at Latinos, and, as expected, channels from Sean "Diddy" Combs and Earvin "Magic" Johnson."

Comcast pledged to add 10 independent minority networks as part of its deal to create the NBCU joint venture. Comcast said it came to the decision after evaluating more than 100 proposals. The services -- BabyFirst Americas, Aspire, Revolt and El Rey -- are scheduled to bow between this April and January 2014. It's unclear what level of distribution the quartet will receive on Comcast Cable systems.

"We are thrilled to work with such talented individuals to launch these new networks that will bring exciting and fresh content to consumers," said Comcast Corp. executive vice president David Coehn in a statement. "Comcast is committed to delivering programming that reflects the interests of our customers, and we look forward to integrating these great networks into our rich programming line-up."

Coming out of the box first in April is BabyFirst Americas. From Spanish-language television veteran Constantino "Said" Schwarz, BabyFirst Americas is designed for infants, very young children, and their parents, and emphasizes the importance of early development of verbal, math and motor skills.

Johnson's Aspire is slated to follow this summer. In partnership with GMC, which will provide an assist with affiliate sales and marketing, Aspire aspires to deliver enlightening, entertaining and positive programming to African-Americans families, including movies, documentaries, short films, music, comedy, visual and performing arts, and faith and inspirational programs.
Proposed by superstar and entrepreneur Sean "Diddy" Combs and MTV veteran Andy Schuon, Revolt will present programming inspired by music and pop culture, including music videos, live performances, music news, and interviews and will incorporate social media interaction for music artists and fans. The network has entered into an agreement to launch in 2013.
Eyeing a January 2014 rollout, El Rey, from lHollywood director Robert Rodriguez and FactoryMade Ventures executives John Fogelman and Cristina Patwa, aims to be an action-packed, general- entertainment service showcasing a mix of reality, scripted and animated series, movies, documentaries, news, music, comedy, and sports programming. El Rey will include programming that features Hispanic producers, celebrities and public figures.

The cable company did not say how broad the distribution would be, but said Tuesday all 10 independent nets it has planned to add by 2018 as part of its deal with the government will be added to the digital basic tier on "select Comcast systems."

John Eggerton and R. Thomas Umstead contributed to this account.