TV One Adds Daily News Program

TV One’s fall launch of a live daily news series, News One Now, is part of its effort to serve its African-American audience with relevant and diverse content that can’t be found on competitors’ lineups, chairman Alfred Liggins said.

TV One will simulcast the last hour of the 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. News One Now radio program to be syndicated on Radio One stations across the country, said Liggins, who was named to head the Radio One and Comcast-owned network last October. Former CNN journalist Roland Martin will host News One Now, which offers news and analysis of politics, entertainment, sports and culture from an African-American perspective. (Martin had hosted Washington Watch, the network’s Sunday public-affairs show, which ended its fouryear run in May.)

While the network has yet to specify a launch date, Liggins said the show would most likely debut in mid- September, prior to the Congressional Black Caucus’ annual legislative conference. The radio version of News One Now will also run on the Web, via Radio One’s dedicated site, according to Liggins.

TV One joins a contingent of other multicultural- targeted networks attempting to offer live news programming. African- American-targeted broadcast multicast network Soul of the South is currently offering daily news updates and expects to offer a six-hour block of news content by the end of the year. Univision and ABC News this December will launch Fusion, a English-language cable news network targeted to Hispanic viewers.

While competitors such as BET have failed to make news and public affairs work from a ratings perspective, Liggins believes African-Americans will gravitate to daily news programming from their perspective, particularly in the morning, where news-and-entertainment radio shows like The Tom Joyner Morning Show are popular.

“I think we’re putting News One Now where we know black consumers like to consume information,” Liggins, who is also CEO of Radio One, said. “We’re saying there’s a void on television for this type of news from a unique perspective.”

News One Now will join a diverse TV One lineup that features reality series such as the recently launched R&B Divas: L.A., scripted series like The Ricky Smiley Show and docudrama content, including the network’s signature series, Unsung.

The shows have helped the nine-year-old TV One post a 17% year-to-year primetime viewership gain during second-quarter 2013. Liggins said the network will continue to offer unique and original programming that reflects the interests of its target audience.

“When people ask why TV One is relevant and why should I care about it, I want them to say more that we have a hit reality series or great docuseries like Unsung,” he said. “I want them to have yet another, more visceral reason as to why TV One should matter and exist. We think that’s the mission that the network was created to accomplish.”


TV One is moving to serve an unfilled niche with News One Now, a daily morning news program aimed at African-Americans.

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.