By Walter Rutledge
TV One held their Upfront 2012- 2013 Advertising Luncheon and Presentation on March 20 at Cipriani 42nd Street. It was the second consecutive year Upfront was presented at the Cipriani 42nd Street location. This season not only gave us a look at the new programming, but also introduced TV One president and CEO Wonya Lucas to the media.
After a brief “ice breaking” introduction by comedian and event emcee Jonathan Slocumb, Chief Revenue Officer and Executive Vice President for TV One and Radio One Keith Bowen addressed the audience. Bowen, who has been with TV One since it’s original launch in 2004, provided an informative overview of both TV One and their core constituent audience, Americans of African decent. The facts were astounding.
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According to the Neilson Report African-Americans are disproportionately high consumers, and the market place return on advertising dollars is a solid investment. On average advertisers spend 89 million dollars on advertising to African-Americans and in return the consumers spends 66.2 billion dollars annually; this is a staggering 676 times return on the initial media investment. The consumer spending applies to all areas including retail, foot service restaurants, entertainment and telecommunications.
Bowen introduced Wonya Lucas, who unveiled her first programming plans since joining TV One in August 2011. She proudly shared with us that TV One is now the number one cable network among African-Americans, and number eight in the entire cable network. She then announced the addition of fourteen new series and specials for the new line up. This will include three new sitcoms and eight “non fiction entertainment series” (reality shows).
Executive Vice President of Original Programming Toni Judkins then went into more detail about the new season and presented some of the personalities involved. Renowned educator, author and television commentator Dr. Steve Perry will host Save My Son. The unscripted series profiles the struggles of African American families to save their sons who have fallen victim to bad influences and bad choices. This groundbreaking series will go to communities to rescue young men from a range of dangerous activities.
The Ladies of R&B will be an hour-long series that follows the lives of R&B singers Faith Evans, Nicci Gilbert, Keke Wyatt, Monifah Carter and Syleena Johnson. The four women share their pain, suffering and joy as they work hard and lean on each other to put their lives and careers back together. Another new series Unresolved: Celebrity Cases is an investigative series that delves into the controversial and sensational cases involving prominent entertainment figures. Upcoming episodes will include the murder of Sam Cooke and the murder case involving basketball player Brian Williams.
Washington Watch with Roland Martin returns to TV One. Martin is the hosts of this weekly public affairs series that focuses on issues that are critical to African-Americans. Designed to compete with the bounty of Sunday morning political talk shows he will continue to interview administration and elected officials, as well as hold discussions with journalists and policy experts on issues that impact the black communities.
Another returning series is the docu-drama Find Our Missing put names and faces on people of color who have disappeared without a trace. Hosted by Emmy and Golden Globe Award-winning actress S. Epatha Merkerson (Law & Order) each episode tells the story of the missing person or persons, beginning with the day they vanished and the frantic searches by loved ones and investigators to find them. The show format is reminiscent of American’s Most Wanted in that it ask the public to assist with information that may help solve these disappearances.
The event concluded with a special performance by recording artist Ne-Yo. He had appeared last season on TV One Night Only: Live From the Essence Music Festival, a two-hour special that highlights performances from the three-day music festival. For a complete list of present and upcoming programming visit www.tvone.tv
In Photo: 1) Stage at Cipriani 2) Wonya Lucas 3) Faith Evans and Walter Rutledge 4) S. Epatha Merkerson and Toni Judkins 5) Ne-Yo
Photo Credit 1,2,4,5) Fritz PhotoGraphics 3) Adewale Adekanbi