Magic Johnson's cable channel deal approved by Maxine Waters
Waters was one of the chief critics in 2010 of the then-pending merger between communications giant Comcast and NBCUniversal, because she felt the companies were not committed to hiring and promoting minorities. But she praised Comcast’s announcement this week that they are establishing four new independent channels targeting minorities.
“I am pleased that Comcast-NBCUniversal has taken steps to honor its commitment to media diversity in programming and ownership,” Waters said in a statement released Wednesday.
The new channels include one owned by former Los Angeles Lakers star Magic Johnson, one owned by rapper and entrepreneur Sean “Diddy” Combs and a third owned by “Spy Kids” director Robert Rodriguez.
Waters said that Comcast-NBCUniversal “appears to be making progress in efforts to fulfill its public interest commitments.” She also noted new MSNBC shows hosted by the Rev. Al Sharpton, Melissa Harris Perry, Tamron Hall and Martin Bashir.
Said Waters, “It is clear that Comcast has begun to act on the concerns that I, and the community of minority media professionals, raised during the course of the merger review.” She added, “While these initial steps are commendable, I urge the company to continue to cultivate diversity among its executive leadership, showrunners and other studio heads with ‘greenlighting’ authority … Comcast-NBCUniversal would be a trailblazer within an industry that continues to struggle with diversity and inclusion.”
Waters had been particularly tough in her grilling of NBCUniversal and Comcast officers when they were called before Congress in 2010 to defend the merger.
-- Greg Braxton
Photo: Rep Maxine Waters (D-Los Angeles). Credit: Rick Meyer / Los Angeles Times