Published on Monday, 08 August 2011 17:36
Near the end of next month, Chicago television will be gaining a new television network. Bounce TV, the first-ever national over-the-air broadcast television network specifically targeting African-Americans will be launching September 26th. As of this week, the network has found a Chicago home for its broadcasts, Weigel Broadcasting-owned WWME 23.2.
Bounce TV will primarily target the demographic of African-American adults, ages 25-54. The 24/7 network plans on programming its days and weeks with original programming, off-network series, films, documentaries, specials, live sporting events, inspirational faith-based programs, and more.
Bounce TV already has deals in place with NBCUniversal Domestic Television Distribution and Sony Pictures Television for nearly 300 movie titles, including Jamie Foxx in "Ray," Will Smith as "Ali," Denzel Washington in "The Hurricane," Spike Lee's "Do The Right Thing," "Jungle Fever," and "Mo' Better Blues," John Singleton's "Boyz 'n The Hood," Eddie Murphy's "The Nutty Professor" (I and II), "I Spy" and "Bowfinger," "Dave Chappelle's Block Party," and classics such as "A Raisin in the Sun," "The Wiz" and "Car Wash." Deals are in place with Codeblack Entertainment and Image Entertainment for movies, documentaries, dramas and comedies staring such superstars as Morgan Freeman, Bill Cosby, Alfre Woodard, Russell Simmons, Jay-Z, Vivica A. Fox, 50 Cent, Katt Williams, Vanessa Williams, Blair Underwood and Terrence Howard. Bounce TV has already signed a deal with the Urban Sports Entertainment Group to televise both football and basketball games from the nation's largest African American athletic conference, the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association. The multi-year agreement includes most post-season tournament games.
The new network expects to be available in at least 50% of the country by its launch next month. It is just about at its goal now, as the network will be seen in Atlanta, Houston, Cleveland/Akron, Milwaukee, Charlotte, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Hartford/New Haven, Norfolk, Dayton, West Palm Beach, Birmingham, Memphis, Louisville and Richmond, among other markets. As of today, add Chicago, the third largest market in the country, to that list.
The deal with Chicago's Weigel Broadcasting seems to be both special and an important one for Bounce TV. Bounce TV's Executive Vice President of Distribution Jeffrey Wolf said in a statement today: "We are ecstatic to be in business with Weigel Broadcasting Co. Given their strength in the diginet business, Weigel brings a tremendous amount of value and credibility to our efforts with both affiliate and advertiser sales."
Neal Sabin, President of Content and Networks for Weigel Broadcasting Company said: "Weigel Broadcasting's Chicago stations have long served a diverse group of underserved communities, especially the African American community. Chicago's African American community first saw 'A Blacks View of the News' and 'Soul Train,' prior to its historic syndication run, on our stations. Affiliating with Bounce TV continues that tradition and enhances the Weigel heritage with an important segment of our viewers."
Last week, Bounce TV announced that Toyota USA has signed on as the first national sponsor for the network.
The Atlanta, GA-based Bounce TV was formed earlier this year by a group led by Martin Luther King III, Ambassador Andrew Young and Andrew "Bo" Young III. The network's leadership team is filled with veteran entertainment industry executives. Their goal is to provide positive programming to a prime audience that is greatly under-served on television.
The addition of this new network means a previously disconnected station is being reactivated. WWME's sub-channel 23.2, will be reactivated and will carry Bounce-TV.
In addition to being able to be seen over the air, Weigel Broadcasting has already secured agreements Chicago-area cable television providers WOW and RCN. An agreement with leading Chicago-area cable provider Comcast is expected before the end of this year, but not before the September 26th launch date.
UPDATED 8:55pm: This corrects the previous version of the article that incorrectly had the new channel for Bounce TV as 26.2. "U-Too" on channel 26.2 will not be changed or removed due to the addition of Bounce TV.