Former NBA Basketball Player ‘MAGIC’ JOHNSON Launches ASPIRE NETWORK to Inspire Black Families


Former NBA Basketball Player and business tycoon Ervin ‘Magic’ Johnson continues to expand his business empire and officially launches  ‘Aspire’ cable  network to inspire the African-American Community. Distributed via Comcast, FAVE TV and Time Warner Cable networks, Aspire will focus on music, comedy, inspirational shows, documentaries and short films. The channel will dedicate itself to enlightening and positive programming aimed at black families. 

The new network will be available in 7 million homes and 16 of the top 25 African-American markets, including New York City, Atlanta, Chicago and Washington, DC. According to Johnson, Aspire’s reach will grow to 12 million homes by year’s end, then to 20-30 million homes by the end of 2013, and to 40 million homes within two years.



Johnson states “Focus groups told us African-Americans want more family content on TV, a few hours before the party. If they would have told me, ‘We don’t need another channel, there’s not an opportunity for you,’ we wouldn’t be sitting here.”

“My vision is to really bring great family programming to an audience that has been underserved when it comes to that, and bring quality, smart programming.”

“We have a big platform for African-American work, family driven content, positive images of African-Americans – that’s what we want that platform for!”

“The African American creative community is really excited about it, states Johnson. When you think about it, we have great actors, writers, directors, producers, and now they have a platform to bring their content to us or to work with us.”


‘Magic’ Johnson with Carmelo Anthony at Aspire TV Launch!


Johnson held a Aspire launch party at Cipriani in New York, notable attendees included Russell Simmons, Carmelo Anthony, Andre Harrell, Omari Hardwick, Al Sharpton, Sylvia Rhone, June Ambrose and model Jessica White, New Edition also performed their most memorable hits. 

So the question is should ‘BET’ be worried about a new Boss network taking over?…

Aspire aims to differ from other networks focused on the African-American demographic, such as BET. Its backers say Aspire will shine a light on the positive contributions African Americans have made to American culture and highlight ground-breakers and game-changers.

Johnson states “BET dominates the young people and does a great job. TV One skews a little older, we’re gonna skew older than both of them. Blacks want options; they want variety, like everybody else. There’ll be enough viewers for all of us, so everybody wins.”

“It has been a long-held dream of mine to launch a television network that offers viewers inspiring and positive portrayals of African-American lifestyles, accomplishments and talent, while also creating opportunities for the next generation of artists and storytellers.”


Aspire cable closes first launch partnership with Universal McCann clients!


Back in April, ASPIRE announced the signing of its first launch partnerships deal with Universal McCann for multiple clients including Nationwide Insurance and L’Oreal USA brands L’Oreal Paris, Maybelline New York, Garnier and Soft-Sheen Carson. The deals provide the L’Oreal brands and Nationwide Insurance category exclusivity for an undisclosed period of time.

Johnson, chairman of ASPIRE, stated “The team at Universal McCann and their clients, Nationwide Insurance and L’Oreal Paris, Maybelline New York, Garnier and Soft-Sheen Carson, share our vision for a new network that encourages and challenges African-Americans to reach for their dreams; one that will create tremendous opportunities for African-Americans in front of and behind the camera.”

“We are pleased to be part of the launch of the ASPIRE cable network,” said Chris Chesebro, U.S. director of media investments, L’Oreal USA. “This opportunity provides L’Oreal’s brands with an innovative platform to reach our ethnic consumers in a way that is unique and compelling.”

Yin Rani, president, Universal McCann North America, said, “The multicultural audience remains an important and growing segment of our clients. We believe the passion and energy that Magic Johnson and his partners are bringing to this network will create a great platform for our clients’ brands to engage with key consumers.”

Matt Jauchius, chief marketing and strategy officer, Nationwide Insurance, said, “ASPIRE is a perfect match for the Nationwide brand. We have a long history of supporting the African-American community and we’re excited to be a part of the future success of ASPIRE.”

Stay Tuned and Check out the video ‘Welcome to ASPIRE’:


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