Aspire, the TV channel where the magic happens - Macleans.ca

Aspire, the TV channel where the magic happens

Magic Johnson just launched a new network for black families

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Where magic happens
iStock; Photo Illustration by Sarah MacKinnon

Magic Johnson made his name on the basketball court, but he plans on making a second fortune in television. Johnson recently launched Aspire, a U.S. television network aimed at the African-American market. He’ll be competing against TV One and BET, the two other major African-American-oriented networks in the U.S. Launching a network is a risky venture: Oprah Winfrey’s OWN network, for example, has struggled with poor ratings since it launched a year ago. But unlike OWN, which is built entirely on Winfrey’s brand, Johnson’s network is aimed at what he believes is the untapped market of family programming for African-Americans. It is being carried by the largest cable operator in the U.S., Comcast, and is backed by corporations like Coca-Cola and Wal-Mart. It’s not Johnson’s only new business venture either. The NBA Hall of Famer is also entering the world of the prepaid credit card with his aptly named Mastercard, the “Magic Card.”