Magic Johnson, P. Diddy To Gain Comcast Channel Berths

(UPDATED) Entertainment moguls Sean "P Diddy" Combs and Earvin "Magic" Johnson will receive two of Comcast's new multicultural channel allotments, according to the MSO.

Two new, Hispanic targeted networks -- El Rey, an english-language general entertainment network, and BabyFirst Americas, targeted to young children and thier parents -- will join P Diddy's music-themed service Revolt and Johnson's inspirational-themed channel dubbed Aspire on Comcast systems over the next two years as part of Comcast's mandate to roll out several minority-targeted networks under the merger conditions that allowed it to assume control of NBCUniversal.

Overall, Comcast has said it will launch 10 new independent channels over the next eight years, including eight that are owned-and-operated by Hispanics and African-Americans. That is a commitment Comcast made in connection with its deal to gain control of NBCUniversal on Jan. 28, 2011.

"We are thrilled to work with such talented individuals to launch these new networks that will bring exciting and fresh content to consumers," said David L. Cohen, executive nice president of Comcast Corporation 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."

 Johnson's Aspire, expected to launch this summer, will look 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.

As first reported by Broadcasting & Cable, Revolt will resemble a music and music news channel with an urban skew, and is set to debut in 2013.

 The El Rey Network, proposed by Hollywood director Robert Rodriguez and FactoryMade Ventures executives John Fogelman and Cristina Patwa is designed to offer action-packed, general entertainment programming Latino and general audiences that will include a mix of reality, scripted and animated series, movies, documentaries, news, music, comedy, and sports programming. The service is expected to launch January 2014.

 BabyFirst Americas, set to launch April 2012, is targeted to infants, very young children, and their parents, and emphasizes the importance of early development of verbal, math and motor skills.

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.