ION, Omnicom strike multicultural programming deal


ION Media Networks, in collaboration with African-American TV syndicator Star Media and Omnicom’s OMG Entertainment & Sports unit, announced a strategic partnership for the creation and exhibition of African-American programming on the ION Television Network. The initiative already has backing from major charter sponsors McDonald’s, State Farm and P&G, with others expected to follow.

Initially, the partnership will use the syndication marketplace and TV libraries of Warner Bros. and other major television studios to program urban and diverse content. The longer term goal is to reinvest net proceeds from this enterprise into an original programming fund that can help create new African-American and diverse content to be aired on ION Television.

The initiative launched Monday in the 6-7 p.m. ET timeslot on ION Television, with the return of “The Wayans Brothers” to broadcast television. Warner Bros. Domestic Television is the programming partner for this series.

Star Media’s Dennis Ray and OMG’s head of multi-cultural entertainment, Marissa Nance, will lead the first-run development process working in conjunction with the ION Television team. Said Steve Grubbs, CEO of OMG Entertainment & Sports: "This is a groundbreaking new business model enabling us to invest in a partnership that will fill a marketplace need, namely the creation and distribution of African-American programming."