ThisIsRnB attended a virtual press conference held recently with TV One and Cleo TV network executives, producers, and talent that presented “UpFronts” a detailed and informative discussion surrounding the network’s accomplishments, plans, exciting new content, and programming,
The panel consisted of Michelle Rice, President of TV One and CLEO TV, Susan Henry, Senior Director of Programming and Production TV One and CLEO TV, Walter Evans, Vice President of Advertising, and hosted by Nyree Wright, Senior Vice President of Public Relations. Also providing commentary were Jamecia Blount, (A.Smith & Co. Productions) Executive Producer of ‘UNSUNG’, Ne-Yo, Grammy Award-winning singer and songwriter, and host of the 2022 TV One’s Urban Honors, Jake and Jazz Smollet, host of Living By Design, and Chef Jernard Wells, host of New Soul Kitchen & New Soul Kitchen Remix.
Michelle Rice has done a phenomenal job at the helm since the launch of TV One in 2004 and Cleo TV in 2019. She has worked tirelessly to bring thoughtful black programming to fill a void in the TV industry while cementing it as a hub for Black Entertainment and Black Culture. In 2019 the TV ONE’s sister network CLEO TV was launched targeting young millennials and young GENX women of color with lifestyle and entertainment programming.
Susan Henry offered the networks Tv One and Cleo TV’s fantastic and robust slate of programming for “22-23” seasons filled with returning favorites, classic sitcoms, entertainment, prime, and new content including original films and Bio-pics. Show such as TV One’s “Fatal Attraction,” “ATL Homicide,” and additional episodes of “Sins In the City” and new episodes of “UNSUNG” and “Uncensored” will be joined by a new Series “Pay Back,” a true-crime show that crosses the line to get the ultimate revenge, “Stalker,” “Lineage,” and The Stranger Next Door”. Currently in production is the Biopic of Gospel Superstar and Preacher, Marvin Sapp titled ” Never Would Have Made it.” A new and exciting dating show has also been added to the network’s line-up “21 Days To Love.
TV One’s Iconic “Urban Honors Awards” celebrate the best in black culture and honor achievements made by individuals in the fields of radio, television, music, social media, politics, and social activism also returns.
Cleo TV brings on two new cooking shows “The Kitchen,” “Culture Kitchen” and the new series “Global Gourmet” with returning classics ” Just Eat,” “New Soul Kitchen” and “New Soul Kitchen Remix”. More lifestyle programming has also been added, ” Decor Remix,” hosted by the principal designer Philadelphia-native Dominique Calhoun who is all about designing on a budget but making it fabulous, “Living By Design /Reveal and a Meal” which is hosted by Jake and Jazz Smollett who spoke during the conference expressed gratitude and “what a blessing to be able to provide humanity and sanctuary to the spaces… super gratifying to continue to do the show, changing the scope of how people live…and meal to boot.” “New Soul Kitchen “Chef Jernard Wells “30Minutes for Less” using food to promote family values.
Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Ne-Yo (“the secret sauce to the Urban Honors” as Rice said,) talked about the excellent programming on the networks, and how he is proud to be able to turn the TV on and see us, people who look like us… and his kids too. He continued to speak about his experience hosting the Urban Honors Awards, and how this was his first time ever hosting an award show and he thought he would be nervous, but he was not due to the excellent talent and production team working on the show.
Jamecia Blount, the producer of the longest-running, most recognized, branding-defining, most awarded tv-series highlighting careers and lives of Black Music Artists “Unsung” talked about her excitement and gratitude to be able to continue to partner for over 12 seasons and counting saying “…brings us joy to know the artist really trust us to share their stories with integrity…to be able to share our history and our culture in this way…”
Bringing it all together underscoring the network’s prominence, sustainability, and continuing to make major strides while extending its reach within the sphere of TV was Walter Evans, Vice President of Advertising and Marketing. Evans put forth the essential ingredients needed to be successful and the three main reasons he’s excited about the “Upfronts” this year: 1. programming, 2 . Original overall health of our networks 3. Expectation to have advertisers continue to be engaged and focused in this space…” Evans continued to share how TVOne subscribers base increased,… engagement, length of tune in viewership staying…being ranked #2 to our competitors set says a lot means we have our hand on the pulse of what the viewerships want to see…, original programs coming back season over season, integrative marketing team doing award-winning work authentically integrating marketing helping advertisers grow their brands in our market place…he explained his expectation to continue to grow to have engaged and focused advertisers in this space …” As a final point in Evans presentation, he proudly boasted about their unique selling proposition and value- their “Differentiating Edge ” that no one in this space can compete against their ” One Solution Proposition that we bring to our network; robust radio offerings, digital property and TV One and Cleo TV, breadth, depth and reach across multiple platforms that can not be duplicated.” And in this realm, they are unrivaled and unparalleled in the industry.
As Rice said TV ONE and CLEO TV continue to raise the bar, and quoted the founder of Urban One and legend Cathy Hughes she said “We can’t rely on other people to tell our stories.” “For us and by us and doing it in an amazing way.” ThisIsRnB is certainly in agreement and is thrilled for the network’s continued development and wishes success and longevity now and in the future.