- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Centric bows

BET and MTV networks on Monday very quietly introduced Centric, a new basic-cable network aimed at black adults, Multichannel.com reports.

According to the trade publication, Centric will feature acquired fare from corporate siblings such as MTV’s “Run’s House.”

BET is rebranding its nearly 32 million-subscriber BET J network under the Centric moniker, which will target viewers with music and lifestyle programming, says Centric General Manager Paxton Baker.

The BET and MTV networks venture was announced in April during BET’s upfront presentation to advertisers. Both programmers are owned by Viacom.

BET J (formerly BET on Jazz) has deals with such key distributors as DirecTV, Time Warner Cable and Cablevision Systems.

During the upfront, BET executives projected the network would have 45 million viewers at launch. At the time, sources close to the network said that Centric would also inherit the lion’s share of subscribers from MTV digital channel VH1 Soul to meet its announced distribution goals.

However, BET Networks President and chief operating officer Scott Mills told Multichannel News that Centric — handled by MTV Networks’ affiliate-sales team, but otherwise run by BET — would instead work with affiliates to reach 45 million subscribers by 2010.

The new network will take aim at the Silver Spring-based TV One — owned by Comcast/Radio One — in targeting an audience of 25-to 54-year-olds, Multichannel noted.

While the network officially signed on Monday, BET and MTV are not planning any major marketing campaigns for the channel until 2010. For the immediate future, Centric will run cross-promotional spots through such MTV Networks properties as VH1, MTV and BET.

As for the programming, Centric for the short term will rely on acquired reality and music programming fare from its sister networks, including such shows as MTV’s “Run’s House” and VH1’s “The Salt-N-Pepa Show” and “I Want To Work for Diddy,” Mr. Baker said.

Centric also will feature new shows originally slated to premiere this fall on BET J, including “Leading Men,” “Lyrical Cafe” and “Urban Living,” he added.

Also on tap for the fourth quarter is the relaunch of the “Soul Train Music Awards” in November, after a two-year hiatus from television. The network will also air classic episodes from the long-running “Soul Train” syndicated music/dance series, including singer Michael Jackson’s first appearance on the show as a member of the Jackson Five.

Moreover, Mr. Baker said Centric will launch its own slate of original programming in the first quarter of 2010. Some original shows already slated for the channel include “Model City,” a reality show about black American models in New York City, and “Keeping Up With The Joneses,” which follows the exploits of a Houston-based female entrepreneur.

Animated Ramsay

Celeb chef Gordon Ramsay is already a fairly cartoonish character. Now he’s set to be the star of his own stop-motion animation series after striking a deal with Toronto-based animation house Cuppa Coffee Studios, Variety reports.

“Gordon Ramsay, at Your Service” is described as a half-hour comedy that will take “the essence of who he is and have a bit of fun with it,” says Adam Shaheen, president of Cuppa Coffee.

Cuppa Coffee is the animation house behind Nick at Nite’s prime time toon series “Glenn Martin, DDS” and MTV’s “Celebrity Deathmatch,” among other shows.

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from Web and wire reports

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide