Comcast’s acquisition of NBC Universal was a giant leap forward for more than just media monopolies, the eventual “cable-ization” of the Internet, and government officials who really know how to career plan. It was also a big day for non-white people, as the nascent media giant promised the FCC that it would be a force for good by developing independently owned channels backed by African Americans and Latinos, thus creating a rainbow of programming that reflects the many diverse ways in which our nation stares glumly at something. And today that dream has been realized, as Comcast unveils the first four networks to come from its “_____ people watch cable like this” initiative. No more hegemony, except where it involves money!
For black people, Comcast has chosen two of the African American community’s most respected cultural leaders, Magic Johnson and Sean “Diddy, Perhaps?” Combs, to develop Aspire and REVOLT, respectively. Johnson’s Aspire will “celebrate the successes, achievements and accomplishments of the African-American community” through “positive, uplifting” programming that may or may not just be all episodes of The Magic Hour on a continuous loop. In Johnson’s words, Aspire “encourages and challenges African-Americans to reach for their dreams,” which they should go do as soon as they are done watching basic cable.
REVOLT, meanwhile, will be the umpteenth challenger to MTV and VHI—a music and news channel that Sean “Puffy Diddy, Mayhaps?” Combs, with typical Sean “Pud Diffy, Perchance?” Combs bluster, describes as “the first channel created entirely from the ground up in this new era of social media,” which we guess means it’s built on original ideas sampled from other channels. But the main selling point seems to be that it’s “influenced by the nonstop chatter of social networking sites,” which REVOLT will then chatter about nonstop, thus creating a feedback loop of inanity.
For Latinos, Comcast has turned to director Robert Rodriguez to head up El Rey, which Rodriguez has said will be “wildly entertaining” and feature “a mix of reality, scripted and animated series, movies, documentaries, news, music, comedy, and sports programming” specifically targeted to Hispanic audiences, presumably those who really, really enjoy the Spy Kids movies. And veteran Spanish-language producer Constantino “Said” Schwarz is developing BabyFirst Americas, which will teach basic learning skills and kindergarten preparedness to toddlers, thus preparing them to infiltrate our schools and give Newt Gingrich something else to bitch about. Anyway, all of these networks may have specific demographics in mind, but they also say they hope to appeal to a larger, more “mass market” audience (read: white, possibly some Asians)—because each day the barriers separating our cultures are being demolished, until we’re all just grayish blurs in a melting pot of mediocrity.
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