Former basketball great Earvin “Magic” Johnson is getting into the television business.
Johnson, who parlayed his sports fame into a series of profitable endeavors, is starting the Aspire network meant to compete against channels like BET and TV One which target black audiences.
The Hall of Famer, who has become a successful business mogul, is preparing to launch Aspire, a 24-hour channel with a focus on what Johnson called positive, uplifting images of African Americans. The basic cable outlet will join other channels targeting black viewers, such as BET and TV One, and will offer opportunities for blacks who have struggled to find work in mainstream Hollywood.
“This is so exciting for me, I’m pinching myself,” Johnson said in a phone interview. “This is big for myself, for the African American community and the African American creative community. I wanted a vehicle to show positive images and to have stories written, produced and directed by African Americans for our community. Aspire — that’s how I’ve been leading my life.”
Aspire’s mix will include film, TV, music and comedy, with a combination of acquired projects and original programming. “There will some performing arts and shows about faith,” Johnson said….
…With Aspire, which is scheduled for a June 30 launch, Johnson becomes the second A-list celebrity to launch a network in the last two years. Oprah Winfrey established OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network as a vehicle for her philosophy of inspiration and personal empowerment. But OWN has struggled ever since its January 2011 launch, failing to develop any shows or projects that have attracted large audiences.