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BET, MTVN Unveil Centric Network for African-Americans

BET and MTV Networks quietly soft-launched Centric, a new basic-cable network aimed at African-American adults, on Monday. Both programmers are owned by Viacom.

BET J (formerly BET on Jazz), which boasts nearly 32 million subscribers, has been rebranded under the Centric moniker. Programming focuses on music and lifestyle. BET J has deals with such key distributors as DirecTV, Time Warner Cable and Cablevision Systems.

Centric is handled by MTV Networks' affiliate-sales team, but otherwise it is run by BET. The new network will take aim at Comcast/Radio One-owned TV One in targeting 25-to 54-year-old African-Americans. BET and MTV are not planning any major marketing campaigns for the channel until 2010.

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