ION, Omnicom Create African-American Programming Block

The Ion Television Network has struck a deal with Omnicom's sports and entertainment unit and Star Media to create an African-American programming block.

Omnicom's OMG Entertainment & Sports will provide advertising backing in the form of at least three charter sponsors: McDonald's, State Farm and Procter & Gamble.

The deal actually started on Monday, Jan. 14 with reruns of "The Wayan Brothers," show, a Warner Bros. Domestic TV show, during the 6 to 7 p.m. time slot.

The long-term goal is to develop original programming. In the near term, the deal will use the syndication TV libraries of Warner Bros. and other major television studios.

Dennis Ray, the Chairman and CEO of Star Media, said in a release that "the chief limitation to the growth of African-American television and media companies has been the inability to get sustained advertiser support for African-American programming." He said this deal represented a new model to do business.

Ion didn't talk time period specifics about the block. Brandon Burgess, Chairman and CEO, ION Media Networks, said in a statement that "we may also consider establishing a dedicated, 24/7 multicultural spin-off network, using our digital broadcast capacity."



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