Black News Channel Signs Off

Ratings hit a high this week with Ketanji Brown Jackson hearing coverage
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 25, 2022 5:05 PM CDT
After 2 Years, Black News Channel Shuts Down
Shahid Khan, shown at an NFL game in 2017, bankrolled the Black News Channel with $50 million in 2019.   (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, File)

(Newser) – Two years after its launch, the Black News Channel is going off the air. "Due to challenging market conditions and global financial pressures, we have been unable to meet our financial goals," the CEO wrote to employees on Friday, "and the timeline afforded to us has run out." Live programming was scheduled to end at 5pm EDT, the Los Angeles Times reports, with reruns to air for the rest of March. The network's more than 200 employees were due paychecks Friday but didn't receive them. Benefits and pay won't go beyond the end of the month, per the Wall Street Journal.

The network, whose site says it's "dedicated to covering the unique perspectives, challenges and successes of Black and Brown communities," started with $50 million from billionaire Shad Khan, owner of the NFL's Jacksonville Jaguars. Revenue has been insufficient to pay for the expensive operation, per the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and Khan didn't want to put any more money into the project. Nielsen data show viewership peaked this week, to 80,000, during its full-time coverage of the confirmation hearing for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, President Biden's nominee for the Supreme Court. About 50 million households received the network, it said, through providers including Xfinity, Dish, and DirecTV.

Many employees were angered by the announcement, per the Times, after jumping to the network from more established news organizations because they bought into the mission. The network featured such voices as Charles Blow, Aisha Mills, and Marc Lamont Hill. A class-action lawsuit has been filed by former and current female employees who say that they were paid less by the network than men in similar roles and that managers told them they were "insufficiently feminine." (Read more TV networks stories.)

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