Basketball Hall of Famer Earvin "Magic" Johnson, who led the L.A. Lakers to five NBA championships in the 1980s, has signed a deal with Comcast to launch a new cable network, according to The Hollywood Reporter, citing a Wall Street Journal report.
The network, which targets the African-American community, is called Aspire. The channel is expected to begin broadcasting in Summer 2012.
Johnson sees Aspire as a new BET and promises to build the network over time and invest significantly.
Johnson’s deal comes on the heels of news that Comcast is backing the new channel Revolt from Sean "Diddy" Combs, as previously reported.
Comcast today also rolled out plans to launch two English-language channels owned by Latinos, the L.A. Times reports. “One will be owned by film director Robert Rodriguez (‘Spy Kids,’ ‘El Mariachi’) and the other by Spanish-language television veteran Constantino ‘Said’ Schwarz,” the Times reports.
The Times story adds: “El Rey channel will be a joint venture between Rodriguez and FactoryMade Ventures executives John Fogelman, a former top William Morris Endeavor talent agent, and Cristina Patwa. The channel, which is slated to launch in early 2014, is expected to feature Latino celebrities and producers.”