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Comcast Sets Black News Net

Washington D.C.-based Black Television News Channel announced last Tuesday it has reached a multiyear carriage agreement with Comcast for distribution in several of the operator's urban-based systems beginning in 2009.

The network, created by former U.S. congressman J.C. Watts Jr., will launch in 2009 and will provide original news programming with a distinctively African-American perspective, according to a network press release.

The network would be the first cable service to offer 24-hour news targeted to African-Americans. Prior attempts to launch a full-time news channel have failed, mostly due to the high cost of developing news. Neither African-American targeted BET nor TV One offer daily news shows, instead relying on short news briefs throughout the day.

“Our unique and vast content partnerships with African-American newsmakers will provide our viewers live access to the stories and people in whom our viewers have a special interest,” said Watts in a statement. “With this agreement, Comcast continues to demonstrate its commitment to working with independent programmers with diverse points of view.”

Comcast representatives could not be reached for comment at press time.