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 Black Stats           
Frequently requested data on African American consumers

Black Buying Power:
  $656 Billion (2003)

Black U.S. Population:
  38.3 million

Top Five Black Cities
  - New York
  - Chicago
  - Detroit
  - Philadelphia
  - Houston

Top Five Black Metros:
  - New York-New Jersey
  - Washington-Baltimore
  - Chicago-Gary
  - Los Angeles
  - Philadelphia

Top Five Expenditures:
 - Housing 145.2 bil.
 - Food 56.5 bil.
 - Cars/Trucks 32.6 bil.
 - Clothing 23.0 bil.
 - Health Care 18.0 bil.

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CBS takes the week’s top two spots and the title of winning network 8-22-07

Second season of "The Boondocks" will premiere on Adult Swim in October

Football edges out CSI for week’s top show; CBS and Fox share top network honor 8-16-07

TV One does six-figure ad deal with Home Depot via eBay media 8-14-07

Thanks to 'Payne' TBS holds on to No.1; Disney rules again as week’s top network 8-9-07

'Girlfriends' leads CW’s sweeps the top of the chart’s;  CBS, Fox tie for top net 8-8-07

CBS’s 'CSI' franchise holds on to top of the chart and the week’s No.1 net 8-3-07

Cleveland’s cable operator finds success with ads that mirror community

By Simon Applebaum
Cable World
(Sept. 12, 2005) We hear it every year at this time--"diversity is good business." Nowhere is that proving truer than in Adelphia's Cleveland system. And there are hard numbers to back it up. The system added 2,500 subs in the first six months of 2005. There are also 16% fewer disconnects this summer versus last summer.

Managers cite many reasons for these successes, yet they insist diversity is a major factor. Not coincidentally, then, the system's Latino digital lineup has soared. Six weeks after a promotion begun at the Puerto Rican Day Festival in mid-July with flyers, augmented by cross-channel spots featuring ESPN Deportes over local avails, the lineup has increased penetration by 25%, Adelphia marketing manager Dana Olden says
Story continued...

NBC deleted Kanye's comments on Bush from telethon re-broadcast

By Matea Gold and Scott Collins
Los Angeles Times

(Sept. 5, 2005) Kanye West's impromptu attack on President Bush during a live telecast Friday prompted NBC to delete his remark in its West Coast broadcast of the benefit for hurricane victims.

"George Bush doesn't care about black people," West said.

The rap star also criticized coverage of the catastrophe. "I hate the way they portray us in the media," West said. "If you see a black family, it says they're looting. See a white family, it says they're looking for food."

West's remarks aired unedited in NBC's East Coast and Midwestern markets, and also on the simulcast versions for MSNBC, CNBC and Pax. However, the network turned off his microphone and switched to another performer shortly after he mentioned Bush.

The criticism of the president was deleted from the version that appeared on the West Coast three hours later on tape delay.

West Coast viewers did, however, hear West's criticisms of the media and the pace of the relief.

NBC officials said the network made the decision to cut the Bush remark because of a desire not to politicize the concert and possibly dissuade viewers from donating.

The benefit "was a live television event wrought with emotion," said NBC spokeswoman Rebecca Marks. "Kanye West departed from the scripted comments that were prepared for him and in no way represents the views of the networks. It would be most unfortunate if the efforts of the artists who participated and the millions of Americans who are helping those in need are overshadowed by one person's personal opinion."

During the middle of the telethon, West was paired with actor Mike Myers, who began with prepared remarks. Myers appeared surprised after West began criticizing the media's portrayal of blacks and the pace of rescue and relief efforts.

Myers waited for West to finish and then spoke again, sticking to the script.

After a short pause, West said: "George Bush doesn't care about black people."

Within minutes, MSNBC President Rick Kaplan, who produced the telethon at Rockefeller Plaza in New York, had cameras cut to actor Chris Tucker, who was on a different part of the stage and who appeared to be looking at something off camera. Viewers could hear West's voice trailing away as his audio was switched off and Tucker began reading from prepared remarks.

Although the event was aired with a brief time delay so technicians could edit out profanity, it took a few minutes for producers to realize that West had strayed from the script.

At the end of the program, host Matt Lauer of NBC's "Today" referred to the high level of emotion surrounding the hurricane's aftermath. He did not address West's remarks directly.

Officials did not have a final tally of the money raised, but Marks said she thought it was a "very substantial" amount.
Click here to view Kanye West comments

Kanye West criticizes media coverage, Bush on Katrina aftermath during live NBC telethon

By Lisa de Moraes
Washington Post
(September 3, 2005) Why We Love Live Television, Reason No. 137:

NBC's levee broke and Kanye West flooded through with a tear about the federal response in New Orleans during the network's live concert fundraiser for victims of Hurricane Katrina last night.

The rapper was among the celebs and singers participating in the one-hour special, produced by NBC News and run on the NBC broadcast network, as well as MSNBC and CNBC, because, hey, the numbers couldn't be any worse than usual on a Friday night and hopefully they'd raise a chunk of change for a good cause, the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund.

Among the performers, Faith Hill sang "There Will Come a Time," which included the lyrics, "The darkness will be gone, the weak shall be strong. Hold on to your faith." Aaron Neville performed Randy Newman's "Louisiana 1927" with its chorus: "They're trying to wash us away, they're trying to wash us away."

West was not scheduled to perform; he was one of the blah, blah, blahers, who would read from scripts prepared by the network about the impact of Katrina on southern Louisiana and Mississippi.

West and Mike Myers had been paired up to appear about halfway through the show. Their assignment: Take turns reading a script describing the breach in the levees around New Orleans.

Myers: The landscape of the city has changed dramatically, tragically and perhaps irreversibly. There is now over 25 feet of water where there was once city streets and thriving neighborhoods.

(Myers throws to West, who looked extremely nervous in his super-preppy designer rugby shirt and white pants, which is not like the arrogant West and which, in retrospect, should have been a tip-off.)

West: I hate the way they portray us in the media. You see a black family, it says, "They're looting." You see a white family, it says, "They're looking for food." And, you know, it's been five days [waiting for federal help] because most of the people are black. And even for me to complain about it, I would be a hypocrite because I've tried to turn away from the TV because it's too hard to watch. I've even been shopping before even giving a donation, so now I'm calling my business manager right now to see what is the biggest amount I can give, and just to imagine if I was down there, and those are my people down there. So anybody out there that wants to do anything that we can help -- with the way America is set up to help the poor, the black people, the less well-off, as slow as possible. I mean, the Red Cross is doing everything they can. We already realize a lot of people that could help are at war right now, fighting another way -- and they've given them permission to go down and shoot us!

(West throws back to Myers, who is looking like a guy who stopped on the tarmac to tie his shoe and got hit in the back with the 8:30 to La Guardia.)

Myers: And subtle, but in many ways even more profoundly devastating, is the lasting damage to the survivors' will to rebuild and remain in the area. The destruction of the spirit of the people of southern Louisiana and Mississippi may end up being the most tragic loss of all.

(And, because Myers is apparently as dumb as his Alfalfa hair, he throws it back to West.)

West: George Bush doesn't care about black people!

(Back to Myers, now looking like the 8:30 to La Guardia turned around and caught him square between the eyes.)

Myers: Please call . . .

At which point someone at NBC News finally regained control of the joystick and cut over to Chris Tucker, who started right in with more scripted blah, blah, blah.

"Tonight's telecast was a live television event wrought with emotion," parent company NBC Universal said in a statement issued to the Reporters Who Cover Television after the broadcast.

"Kanye West departed from the scripted comments that were prepared for him, and his opinions in no way represent the views of the networks. It would be most unfortunate if the efforts of the artists who participated tonight and the generosity of millions of Americans who are helping those in need are overshadowed by one person's opinion."

West's comments would be cut from the West Coast feed, an NBC spokeswoman told The TV Column. (The Associated Press later reported that only his comment about the president was edited out.) The show was live on the East Coast with a several-second delay; someone with his finger on a button was keeping an ear peeled in case someone uttered an obscenity but did not realize that West had gone off-script, the spokeswoman said.

Click here to view Kanye West comments

Nielsen releases demographic estimates for 2005-2006 television season

(August 29, 2005) The total number of television households within the U.S. (including Alaska and Hawaii) is now estimated at 110,200,000, according to Nielsen Media Research. These estimates, which are projected to January 1, 2006, will be used for the entire 2005-2006 television season. Nielsen also reported that the number of ethnic television homes in the U.S. has increased significantly since last year, and because of more people migrating to the South and Western regions of the U.S., Nielsen is reporting many shifts in its local market rankings.

Nielsen Media Research's national Universe Estimates reflect the continued growth of the U.S. ethnic populations. African American television homes continue to be the largest ethnic segment. The Hispanic and Asian populations continue to be the fastest growing in the United States. While the total number of television homes increased by half a percent, the number of Hispanic television homes (which can be of any race) increased by 2.9%; the number of Asian television homes increased by 3.2%; and African American television homes increased by 0.8% (see table).

     Number of Ethnic Television Homes in the U.S.

                        2004-2005       2005-2006
                       # of Homes       # of Homes      % Chng

Total TV           109,600,000    110,200,000    0.5%
African Amer     13,170,000      13,280,000    0.8%
Hispanic TV      10,910,000      11,230,000    2.9%
Asian TV               4,090,000        4,220,000    3.2%

                          % of 2004-05    % of 2005-06
                           TV Homes        TV Homes
African Amer      12.0%              12.1%
Hispanic             10.0%              10.2%
Asian TV                3.7%                3.8%

Nielsen's new national Universe Estimates also reflect the aging of the baby boom generation. The U.S. Census Bureau defines the baby boomers as persons born in the post-World War II period from 1946 to 1964 when the U.S. birth rates were at record high levels. In 2006, the oldest boomers will reach age 60, while the youngest will reach age 42. While the percent of total persons in U.S. TV Homes increased by approximately 1%, there were larger percent increases in the number of persons over age 55.

Many of the local television markets increasing in Nielsen's Designated Market Area (DMA) rank are in the southern and western regions of the United States. This movement is attributed to many people recently migrating south and west, and is consistent with the population growth estimates recently released by the U.S. Census Bureau. According to the most recent U.S. Census Bureau estimates, 60 of the 100 fastest growing counties were in the southern portion of the U.S. and 23 were in the west.

Nielsen Media Research annually reports television household estimates each September based on information from a variety of sources, including Claritas, the United States Census Bureau, and Nielsen Media Research's own television samples.

Africast launches nation's first Pan-African movie channel on the Internet

(August 22, 2005) Africast Television Network has launched America's first Pan-African movie channel offering popular African movies, dramas and documentaries as subscription video on demand at its Website, http://www.africast.tv/. Internet Marketing Consortium, an international marketing company, is investing $1.5 million in Africast on marketing and promotions aimed at U.S. and worldwide audiences.

For $9.95 per month, subscribers can access 50 hours of film and drama programming which is refreshed by 10 additional hours of new programming each month. Africast is negotiating with Comcast and other cable companies to expand its service to selected cities.

"Culturally and politically, Africa is poised to undergo more changes and wield more influence in the world than ever before," says John Sarpong, Africast Chairman and CEO. "However, much of what is shown about Africa is a view from outside, seen through eyes that are not African and, in some cases, not Africa friendly. Only if Africans can present their stories to the world will Africa gain renewed respect and realize her promising future. Our mission is to provide a global voice for Africans to tell their own stories."

Black is back on talk TV, even if not on the leading networks

By Aaron Barnhart
Kansas City Star
(Aug 5, 2005) Has anybody else noticed the quiet return of that rarest of species, the African-American TV talk show host?

Last weekend Comedy Central launched “Weekends at the D.L.,” starring comedian D.L. Hughley. Hughley, part of the mega-successful “Original Kings of Comedy” tour, impressed enough people during his try-out as a guest host of CBS’ “Late Late Show” that he earned a lovely consolation prize: Jon Stewart’s time slot on the three nights of the week Stewart has off.

ESPN2 on Monday unveiled “Quite Frankly,” a new one-hour showcase for its rising on-air talent, sportswriter Stephen A. Smith. Although the show airs in the late afternoons on a sports channel, Smith already has shown enough promise that ESPN, or another network, had better be thinking about an even larger platform for him.

Throw in Tavis Smiley, who has been on PBS for 18 months and is public television’s first new young star in eons, and that makes three black talk show hosts on the verge of becoming major players in a field that has been dominated by white males since the days of Steve Allen.

And they’re doing it with a fraction of the hype that went into promoting three talk shows with African-American hosts in the late 1990s: Magic Johnson, Keenen Ivory Wayans and Sinbad all lasted less than one year on TV, despite enormous buildup and stacks of feature stories about “the latest trend” in late night (yeah, I wrote one of those).

To be fair, those earlier programs all aired on network stations, where expectations were higher than for shows on cable TV, like Smith’s and Hughley’s.

But say this for cable: It is the land of opportunity for minorities who want to be stars, not just supporting players. When Hughley was asked recently if he was disappointed that he hadn’t gotten the CBS job, he said, “There hasn’t been a black person on CBS since ‘The Jeffersons.’ ”

So far, both the Hughley and Smith shows are works in progress, as talk shows tend to be. Again, advantage cable, where performers have time to grow without constant second-guessing by the network overseers.
Click here to read entire Kansas City Star story

Oprah eyeing Toni Morrison's 'Paradise' for ABC TV miniseries

By Cynthia Littleton

(August 1, 2005) Oprah Winfrey's Harpo Films has settled on Toni Morrison's 1998 novel "Paradise" as its next TV movie adaptation for ABC, sources said.

They stressed that deals are still in the process of being hammered out for the principals on the project, which is eyed as a four-hour miniseries. Darnell Martin is attached to pen the screenplay adaptation as well as to direct, they added; earlier this year, she directed Halle Berry in ABC's Emmy-nominated TV movie "Oprah Winfrey Presents: Their Eyes Were Watching God."

"Paradise," the first novel Morrison published after winning the Nobel Prize for literature in 1993, revolves around the murder of several woman by a group of black men from a small town of Ruby, Okla. That story line is set in 1976, but the novel goes back in time more than 100 years to trace the turbulent history of the town and its predominantly black population.

Reps for ABC and Harpo Films could not be reached for comment during the weekend.

NUL study of Sunday talk shows finds that African-Americans are rarely seen

National Urban League Logo(July 31, 2005) According to a study conducted by the National Urban League Policy Institute, Sunday morning network and cable talk shows consistently fail to include African Americans in their lineups, either as interview guests or analysts.

Entitled “Sunday Morning Apartheid: A Diversity Study of Sunday Morning Talk Shows,” the report found that more than 60 percent of the programs broadcast during the 18-month period studied had no black guests.

”This exclusion of African American voices is not unique to Sunday morning talk shows,” write the report's authors, adding that, “Sunday morning talk shows are more than a mere source of news; they are a crucial staple in the public discussion, understanding and interpretation of politics and government and other issues in the United States."

"Yet these programs consistently lack any African American participation in the discussion of these issues -- from the war in Iraq to the economy to electoral politics to Social Security to judicial nominations -- leaving the impression that interest in and analysis of these topics are "for whites only."

To conduct the study, the National Urban League Policy Institute studied the five Sunday morning political talk shows – “This Week with George Stephanopoulos,” (ABC); “Face the Nation,” (CBS); “Late Edition,” (CNN); “Fox News Sunday,” (FOX); and “Meet the Press,” (NBC). All programs broadcast during the 18-month period between January 1, 2004 through June 30, 2005 were reviewed and analyzed.

Among the other highlights in the study:

-- Of the more than 2,100 guest appearances on Sunday morning talk shows during the period studied, only 176 have been by black guests. Three guests -- Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, and Juan Williams -- account for 122 of these 176 appearances;

-- The appearances by guests other than Rice, Powell and Williams account for less than 3 percent of all guest appearances on the Sunday morning talk shows;

-- More than 600 people have appeared as guests once or more on the Sunday morning talk shows during the period studied. Twenty-six of these guests have been black;

-- Only 2 percent of the broadcasts featured interviews with more than one black guest;

-- Three of the four programs presenting political roundtable discussions had no blacks in their roundtable discussion in more than 85 percent of the shows broadcast;

-- While Senators and House Members were featured more than 500 times during the period, black representatives appeared only nine times;

-- Of the more than 75 Senators and House Members who appeared as guests, only three -- Charles Rangel, Jesse Jackson, Jr., and Harold Ford, Jr. -- were black. None of the other 40 members of the Congressional Black Caucus appeared on any of these programs during the 18-month period studied;

-- Only three African American women -- Gwen Ifill, Condoleezza Rice and Donna Brazile -- appeared on any Sunday morning talk show during the pertinent 18-month period.

Click here for a PDF version of the study

BET's '106 & Park' hosts, AJ and Free, announce their departure after five years

By BET.com staff writers
(July 28, 2005) After five years of hosting BET's highly rated video countdown show "106 & Park," AJ and Free announced their departure during Thursday's live broadcast.

While sitting on the famed “106” couch and holding a cell phone with co-host Free on the other line, a tearful AJ told the television and studio audience, “This is our last live show...But this isn’t the last time you’ll see us.”

The two have been a staple on televisions across the country since “106 & Park” debuted in 2000 when Black Entertainment Television moved its music programming operations from its Washington, DC corporate location to facilities located at the corner of 106th Street and Park Avenue in Harlem. Since then, 106 & Park has been a dominant force among video countdown programs, featuring live interviews and performances by the biggest names in music and entertainment, a rocking in-studio audience and the top music videos as chosen by BET viewers on BET.com.  

"They were definitely not let go," said Stephen Hill, executive vice president of entertainment and music programming for BET. "They've decided after five great years of the highest rated music video show on television that they wanted to do something different."

BET has not made any announcements on future hosts or plans for the show at this time but Hill assured viewers that the show will go on.  

"On Monday, we’re going to have a couple of folks you’ve seen on there before and a few other surprises," he said. "You have to tune in on Monday to find out. It’s still going to be the top countdown show on the air."

A.J. and Free were not available for interviews. A pre-taped show hosted by AJ and featuring Miami rapper Trina will air on Friday at 6 p.m. (ET/PT).  

"There is nothing like `106 & Park.'" AJ said to the audience. “It's a staple in the African American community for five years and we hope it will continue. We love you all very much."  

It was a very emotional moment on the air that Hill said was a difficult thing for AJ. Hill and BET’s staff knew the duo was leaving before the show aired. "It was tough for him to do but that was the way he wanted to do it," Hill explained. "Usually in television if you know someone’s leaving, they don’t get to go on the air anymore. BET is a family so we wanted him to go the way he wanted to exit."

Both hosts will go on to pursue other interests. AJ announced that he will be opening a new restaurant, Mahogany, in Brooklyn, N.Y. and will continue working with his management company. AJ also announced that Free said that her website would also be coming soon.

Burrell, R.J. Dale oppose Senate Bill 1372 on Nielsen ratings system

(July 27, 2005) The heads of multicultural advertising and marketing agencies voiced strong opposition to Senate Bill 1372, known as the "Fairness, Accuracy, Inclusivity and Responsiveness in Ratings Act of 2005," which is authored by Senator Conrad Burns (R-Mt). The Bill is presently under consideration by the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.

Three leading agencies agreed that S. 1372 would mandate a costly and unnecessary accreditation process for private corporations responsible for monitoring the broadcast viewing habits of consumers.

Senate Bill 1372 proposes that media research organizations such as Nielsen Media Research and Arbitron, which are in the process of introducing new methods for collecting broadcast viewership and listenership data, would have to secure full accreditation by the Media Rating Council before it could introduce new data collection technology such as the Local People Meters. Agency leaders fear that this newly proposed structure under S. 1372 could take several years to review, develop and implement.

"S. 1372 could potentially stifle the industry," said McGhee Williams Osse, co-chief executive officer of Burrell Communications Group, one of the largest African American-owned and operated advertising agencies in the U.S. "Advertising agencies, marketers, governmental agencies and research companies need the best technology available to gather consumer viewing and consumption habits. S. 1372 would hinder advances in securing consumer information, and could set research back years. Clearly this impacts our effectiveness in marketing."

"Mandatory accreditation will impede progressive change and adversely affect advertising revenue for smaller television networks, stations and advertising agencies devoted to minority consumers," stated Robert Dale, president and CEO of R.J. Dale Advertising and Public Relations. "Additional regulation is unwarranted and goes against the Federal Trade Commission's decree that well-constructed industry self-regulatory efforts can be more prompt, flexible and effective than government regulation."

Under current arrangements with rating companies such as Nielsen Media Research, Spanish-language rating procedures cannot be accredited under existing MRC requirements. S. 1372 would require additional steps for MRC's accreditation service, which would make it financially difficult for many local and regional Spanish-language stations to afford.

"Passage of S. 1372 would be disastrous for station owners, marketers, advertisers and Hispanic-owned and operated marketing agencies," said Ray Durazo, president of Durazo Communications and a member of the Independent Task Force on Television Measurement. "New accreditation procedures will only increase costs for the rating companies and the networks, stations, and agencies that are working to serve the needs of Latino consumers."

While Nielsen Media Research and Arbitron have been involved in monitoring Asian Pacific American (APA) households for years, both companies are currently meeting with APA community, business and civic leaders to secure their feedback on current consumer media rating procedures in an effort to continually improve its measuring methods.

"Asian Pacific American-owned and operated advertising agencies have been pleased with the progress that has been made in effectively monitoring the media viewing and listening habits of APA consumers," said Bill Imada, chairman of IW Group and president of the Asian American Advertising Federation. "S. 1372 threatens to impede the progress we have already made with the rating companies. Our members want to continue the dialogue with Nielsen and Arbitron, not add layers that would interfere with all of the progress we have made."

Nielsen Task Force chair takes Senate committee to task for lack of diversity

By Michele Grippi

(July 26, 2005) Cardiss Collins (left), the former Democratic congresswoman from Illinois who chairs the Independent Task Force on Television Measurement, is not pleased with the lack of ethnic diversity among the six people invited to appear at Wednesday's hearing of the Senate Commerce Committee on the so-called FAIR Ratings Act.

The bill, introduced by Sen. Conrad Burns, R-Mont., would give the industry watchdog Media Rating Council the power to enforce research standards.

"I find it hard to believe that the Senate would hold a hearing regarding fairness in ratings without receiving testimony from at least one person of color -- especially since this legislation would negatively impact minority communities and is purportedly designed to protect them," Ms. Collins said in a statement released Tuesday. "Clearly, this panel is not representative of the changing demographics of America."

Ms. Collins and her task force, which includes 19 industry, community and business leaders, spent more than eight months evaluating Nielsen Media Research's measurement of minority audiences and presented its findings and recommendations to Nielsen in March.

The recommendations dealt with subjects ranging from field operations and fault rates to corporate diversity and over-sampling of minorities in markets where Nielsen has launched the controversial Local People Meters. Complaints from well-organized critics about fault rates and undercounted viewing by blacks and Hispanics ultimately led to demands that new services be accredited before they are adopted.

Meanwhile, Nielsen President and CEO Susan Whiting said Tuesday in a client update on initiatives that it is having constructive "ongoing discussions" with the MRC "toward agreement on the proposed voluntary code of conduct" that the MRC has quietly proposed.

"We believe the code represents a valid approach to enhancing the MRC process," Ms. Whiting said. "Assuming that the review of the code is completed and that the text of the code is agreed to by the vendors and measurement services, Nielsen intends to adopt the code."

Black Family Channel and Verizon ink deal for carriage on Fios TV system

Black Family Channel logo - credit - BlackFamilyChannel.com(July 25, 2005) Verizon today announced a programming-distribution agreement with Black Family Channel, which delivers entertainment, sports, informational and inspirational programming for African-American and urban families 24 hours a day. Under the agreement, Verizon will carry the channel on Verizon Fios TV when it launches later this year.

Verizon Fios TV will offer customers a competitive alternative to cable or satellite. Fios TV will deliver hundreds of digital video and music channels, high-definition programming, video-on-demand content, an interactive programming guide and other customer-friendly features via the company's fiber-to-the-premises ( FTTP ) broadband network. Verizon is already constructing FTTP networks in parts of 15 states, more than half the states where it offers landline communications services.

Black Family Channel joins other major and independent cable networks that will be part of Verizon’s TV service. Verizon will offer a variety of culturally diverse programming, including content from such network groups as NBC Universal Cable, A&E Television Networks, Discovery Networks, Sí TV and TBS, Inc. Verizon previously announced multiple-channel agreements with these and other networks for a wide range of familiar, diverse and newer programming. Black Family Channel will be available to subscribers of Verizon’s expanded basic service.

“We are pleased to offer Black Family Channel, which features a family-friendly lineup of news and information, and original and lifestyle programming, that will appeal to African- American viewers,” said Terry Denson, vice president of programming and marketing for Verizon Fios TV. “Black Family Channel advances our commitment to provide increased content choice and diversity to future Fios TV customers.”

Rick Newberger, Black Family Channel’s president and CEO said, “TV from new competitors is clearly going to be an important component of the future of multi-channel television in this country, and we are excited to be part of shaping that future with Verizon. The African-American family watches more television and spends more on television services than any other demographic or ethnic group. We are pleased that Verizon has recognized the needs of this important customer, and we look forward to working with Verizon to make Fios TV a big success.”

Black Family Channel’s programming mix includes a unique blend of original shows created by Hollywood actor and filmmaker Robert Townsend, who is the president and CEO of productions for Black Family Channel.

Lee Gaither exits post as programming, production head for TV One
Cable channel announces new shows for fall lineup

(July 25, 2005) TV One and Lee Gaither, who headed the burgeoning cable channel’s programming and production activities, have parted company, it was learned last week during the Television Critics Association Tour. The departure comes as the channel is announcing a number of new programs for its fall schedule.

“When we hired Lee, I had a real hope and expectation that he would move to the Washington, D.C./Silver Spring area,” TV One president, Johnathan Rodgers told Multichannel News. “It’s important for us as a new network to have a programming source in the building so that all of the other departments could feed off of it. We really appreciate Lee’s contribution to the point where he will remain a consultant to me.”

Gaither joined TV One from NBC, where he was Vice President of Programming and Development for NBC Entertainment. He worked closely with NBC business development and sales teams utilizing his expertise in programming, emerging technology and licensing and merchandising to assist in ventures such as the acquisition of Telemundo, and the management of NBC’s investment in the PAX Network. He was named Executive Vice President of Programming and Production for TV One in January 2004. In this position, he was responsible for TV One’s programming strategy and oversees all program production, acquisition, scheduling and business development for the network.

Among the new offerings from TV One this fall is “Cuttin’ Up with Al Sharpton” in which the political activist will discuss the day’s issues with barbershop patrons.

”Renovate My House,” is a new reality show  hosted by former Trading Spaces designer Kia Steaves Dickerson that will give domestic makeovers to the homes of African-American across the country.

”Off the Pages,” a talk-show hosted by bestselling author of erotica, Zane, will tackle relationships, sexuality and empowerment for black women.

Roland Martin, author and editor of the "Chicago Defender" will provide a series of one minute commentaries on contemporary issues.

The Africa Channel signs deal with Cox Communications for U.S. cable carriage

http://www.theafricachannel.com/(July 21, 2005) The Africa Channel, a new independent cable television network showcasing the rich and diverse perspectives of the people of the African continent, has set its launch for the third quarter of this year. The network has already secured a corporate agreement with Atlanta-based Cox Communications Inc. and anticipates it will conclude additional carriage agreements shortly.

The goal of The Africa Channel is to amplify the African experience through a daily window into modern African life and build bridges of understanding between U.S. television viewers and the people of Africa.

"Our network will serve an important cultural need, while providing diverse, entertaining programming that demystifies Africa to the American television audience," said James Makawa, CEO of The Africa Channel and one of its trio of founders.

"We couldn't have picked a better launch partner than Cox Communications," said Jacob Arback, President and a co-founder of The Africa Channel. "Cox is a first-class company with particularly strong ties to the local communities they serve. This is key to our mission both here and in Africa.”

Richard Hammer is the third co-founder and Executive Vice President, Communications for The Africa Channel. "These shows have the production and entertainment value of top American shows, which is not surprising considering that many people in the African television business got their training here.”
The Africa Channel will launch with more than 1,200 hours of original and first run English language programming, including news and information, travel, and lifestyle, music, feature films, soaps, talk, reality and special events. Flagship series include "Carte Blanche Africa," a weekly one-hour investigative journalism program now in its 17th season on M-Net; "Africa Within," a vibrant weekly hour that takes viewers from Cairo to the Cape; the reality series "Big Brother Africa" and "All You Need is Love," and the soaps "Generations" and "Isidingo."

"We anticipate The Africa Channel will provide our Cox Digital Cable customers with a new diverse destination on the line-up that entertains and informs," said Bob Wilson, Senior Vice President, Programming, Cox Communications.

The channel's initial partners are former U.N. Ambassador Andrew Young and his company, Goodworks International; Weller/Grossman Productions and National Basketball Association star players Dikembe Mutombo and Theo Ratliff.

For more information about the channel, please visit www.theafricachannel.com.

P&G and Coca-Cola underwrite PBS series on African-American genealogy

(July 21, 2005) The Procter & Gamble Company and The Coca-Cola Company will underwrite “African-American Lives,” an unprecedented four-hour series on PBS that producers say takes Alex Haley's “Roots” saga to a whole new level. Hosted by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (left), chair of African and African-American Studies at Harvard University, “African-American Lives” will air February 2006 on PBS as a co-production of Thirteen/WNET New York and Kunhardt Productions Inc.

Through a compelling combination of storytelling and science, the series will profile some of the most accomplished African-Americans of our time, using genealogy and DNA to trace their roots down through American history and back to Africa.

Dr. Gates will provide access to their day-to-day lives, drawing on photographs, film clips, music, and early personal records, while a team of researchers, genealogists and forensic DNA analysts will conduct investigations into the family histories of these contemporary women and men.

By spotlighting African-American role models, the series hopes to inspire millions to consider their own heritage, and underscore for all Americans the importance of knowing their past, in order to unlock the future.

"This is one of the most exciting projects in which I have been involved," said Dr. Gates. "No television series has explored black roots both in America and in Africa and used DNA research to investigate the origins of individual African-Americans."

"This is a unique program and we're very pleased to be underwriting it," said Berrece Andrews, associate director of multicultural external relations at Procter & Gamble. "Our support of the “African-American Lives” project is part of a broader Procter & Gamble program aimed at touching the lives of African-Americans with relevant programming. The series is a very creative way to inspire hope and understanding for this and the next generation."

"This extraordinary program, “African-American Lives”, will allow and encourage African-Americans to connect with their own history, and we are very glad to be part of this experience," said Ingrid Saunders Jones, senior vice president, corporate external affairs, The Coca-Cola Company.

“African-American Lives” hopes to not only provide a transformational discovery for several prominent African-Americans, but also serve as an example for all Americans of the empowerment derived from knowing their heritage.

Aaron McGruder and the Cartoon Network bringing 'The Boondocks' to cable

The Dallas Morning News
(July 19, 2005) Putting its money where his mouth is, the Cartoon Network is giving voice to Aaron McGruder's "The Boondocks" comic strip – N-word and all.

"It astounds me that good, responsible white people are going to pay for the show. I've been just totally amazed," McGruder (above) said in an interview.

Scheduled to premiere Oct. 2 under the network's late-night "Adult Swim" banner, "Boondocks" regularly tackles racial issues head-on while twitting black celebrities. Addled singer Bobby Brown's Bravo cable reality series and Oprah Winfrey's tiff with Paris, France's luxury Hermes store have been recent targets.

The TV version of "Boondocks" will be less topical, more story-driven, though. And its vocabulary, as demonstrated in a brief clip, occasionally will be peppered with a divisive, hot-button word.
"I think it makes the show more sincere," said McGruder, 31. "At a certain point we all have to realize that sometimes we use bad language. And the 'N-word' is used so commonly, by not only myself but by a lot of people I know, that it feels fake to write around it and to avoid using it."

The series will feature all of the principal characters from the strip, including "junior revolutionary" Huey (right), his younger brother Riley, cantankerous Robert "Granddad" Freeman and Uncle Ruckus.

McGruder earlier developed a TV version for Fox, but the network rejected it after seeing a six-minute presentation tape.

"Adult Swim's" senior vice president, Mike Lazzo, said the early incarnation "felt a little flat and a little network-y." He encouraged McGruder to be more controversial and truer to the strip, which was launched in 1999 and is now in more than 300 newspapers.

The strip usually deploys "asterisks sometimes or 'profanitype'" as stand-ins for the N-word, McGruder said. "I try to use it more and more. It's tough in newspapers. They're really not thrilled about it, but I keep trying to push them."

"Adult Swim" is heavily viewed by young males, who feast on an eclectic lineup of bizarro cartoons including Aqua Teen Hunger Force and Harvey Birdman.

McGruder said he's not worried about making it seem "cool" for them to imitate some of the vocabulary in "Boondocks." "Fifteen, 16 years after the advent of gangsta rap, young white kids have heard the word [N-word] before. And they've said it maybe a few times. So if they start saying it all of a sudden on Oct. 3, I refuse to take responsibility."

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 The 13th Annual Edition 

Buying Power report shows more spending by black consumers on 'necessities'

Thanks to economic gains in the past two years, black households across the U.S., especially middle-class families, are increasing their purchases of lifestyle and leisure items.

According to the newest edition of “The Buying Power of Black America,” there are indications that black households are feeling more confident about making purchases that...

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