Black News Channel, an independent cable news channel founded to give a voice to perspectives underrepresented on legacy cable news channels, is shutting down, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed.
Originally launched in 2020, and backed by billionaire Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shahid Kahn, the channel rebooted itself last year with high-profile talent like New York Times veteran Charles M. Blow and cable news regular Marc Lamont Hill. Blow told THR ahead of the relaunch that he was hoping his primetime program would be “a space for Black news, that doesn’t have the architecture of the larger culture around it.”
“It is gratifying to be able to fill a void, to be able to step in and say we have been neglected,” Hill added. “We have an incredible assignment as a network, and that is to tell these stories that legacy cable networks haven’t been committed to telling.”
The National Association of Black Journalists said Friday that it had “learned that plans are in the works to develop a solution to provide employees with their last three weeks of pay. NABJ is exploring ways to assist our members impacted by the closing.”
The Los Angeles Times first reported on the shutdown.
The channel had been led by former CNN executive Princell Hair, with the channel signing a deal with CBS Media Ventures to partner on advertising sales. However, with tough competition and limited distribution (it was in about 52 million homes, compared to more than 80 million for channels for CNN and Fox News), it was unable to sustain itself.
Before news of its shutdown went public, the BNC Twitter feed shared that the channel set “an all-time viewership record!” thanks to its coverage of the Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson confirmation hearings. “Let’s Keep the momentum going – watch 15 minutes daily!” the Twitter feed added.