Paul Butler Named Aspire GM

Startup African-American channel Aspire has named former GMC executive Paul Butler as its general manager.

Butler will oversee all operations of the Magic Johnson-owned Aspire, which is set to launch next month. Butler most recently was GMC's senior vice president and general, a role he will continue to serve while transitioning to Aspire. GMC is handling operations for Aspire leading up to its launch. 

"We conducted an extensive search for the right person to lead Aspire and found that he was right here all along, and already on the GMC team," said Johnson in a statement. "Paul has a long track record of success with GMC with a wide range of responsibility and oversight. With his background and the fact that he was heavily involved in GMC's tremendous growth, Paul is definitely ready to hit the ground running to ensure a successful launch and a great future for the network." 

Prior to joining GMC in 2006, Butler was an executive at VH1, serving at various times as director, program enterprises and business development and senior counsel, music programming and products.

"I have worked closely with Paul for six years and in that time he has thoroughly impressed me with his leadership skills, forward-thinking and ability to develop smart solutions to critical issues," said Charlie Humbard, GMC president and CEO in a statement. "He is very impressive as a business and creative executive. There is no question that Paul is an ideal choice to lead Aspire to great heights." 

Aspire, one of four multicultural networks supported by Comcast Cable under the merger conditions that allowed it to assume control of NBCUniversal, will debut June 27 to 2.5 million viewers and expects to reach the 11 million-subscriber mark by early 2013.

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.