A new television network targeting African Americans has just launched in the US called Bounce TV with the slogan “TV Our Way.” The FIRST on-air program will be none other than “The Wiz” featuring Michael Jackson and Diana Ross. Bounce TV is targeting an older demographic than BET (whose audience skews younger and favors hip-hop videos).
Its schedule is packed with movies with “proven playability among black audiences,” such as A Raisin in the Sun, Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing, Shackles, Glory, and a week of Richard Pryor comedies. The rest of its on-air lineup features acquired TV shows such as Soul Train, a mix of original programming: sports (primarily, black college football games), documentaries and faith-based programs.
Bounce TV isn’t the first or only network targeting African Americans, of course.
Bob Johnson sold BET to Viacom in 2000 for $3 billion, and it’s still going strong, while TV One launched in 2004 with backing by Radio One and Comcast. Other entrants in the space have struggled, however, including Black Family Channel, which closed in 2007.
While launching a new TV brand is never easy, Bounce as much about representation on-air as behind the scenes. As co-founder Martin Luther King III commented to The Wrap, “My father envisioned the day that African Americans would play major roles in entertainment within ownership, not just serve as entertainers on the stage or in front of the cameras.”
King added, “That’s what makes this even more exciting to me as we embark on this new endeavor of an independently owned and operated broadcast television network featuring African Americans.” [Bounce TV]