February 27, 2009

TV One Opposes Bob Johnson's New TV Network: Urban Television

Would you trust Bob Johnson with another Black Cable TV Network? Your cable company might have to show Urban Television, like it or not.

TV One CEO Alfred Liggins told the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) that the method Robert Johnson, former owner and creator of BET (Black Entertainment Television) is using to get his channel on the air could force cable systems to drop TV One.

In response, Johnson sent a harsh letter to Liggins, saying it's going down (insert Yung Joc theme music), that "your argument that Urban Television would 'have a devastating impact' on TV One is totally without merit and absolutely self-serving."

Both companies are supported by two large media companies. TV One has a partnership with Comcast, while Urban Television, LLC is 49% owned by Ion Networks and 51% by Johnson. Liggins is definitely looking out for his own best interest, but he makes a point. Many cable companies do not carry both BET and TV One as it is. Try going on the road and getting BET on the hotel's channel lineup let alone TV One. Hey, I'm still waiting for VH1 Soul and BET Jazz to show up on DirecTV. So the prospect of TV One being dropped by some cable companies, in favor of Urban Television is a real possibility.

So exactly what is Bob Johnson doing that TV One objects to? Urban Television and Johnson are seeking permission to share time on 42 stations owned by Ion Media Networks Inc., a successor to Pax TV, a broadcast network that operates on several UHF channels. You know the "family network" with good old American value shows like M*A*S*H and Lassie. Is Lassie still on there it's been awhile? Because of "must carry" FCC rules, your cable company must show all local over-the-air stations. So, if you have an ION UHF station in your town, you will automatically see Urban Television. Sounds like a good deal to me for Bob Johnson.

Do we really need another BET? Because we all know Johnson, if successful, will sell his interest and we'll be stuck with another channel filled with great Black exploitative television.

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