Though I'm always glad to see more diversity on both the big and small screens, I have to admit the announcement gave me pause when I read it because I think that anything related, spun off from, or at all connected to BET automatically gets a side eye (even though Johnson hasn't been affiliated with the channel for years, it was at one point his brainchild). I love what BET was supposed to represent, but I hate that it doesn't actually own up to its refusal to show diversity within black entertainment. Is UMC supposed to be the answer to that? Apparently, but it just sounds more like a band-aid to cover up what BET should have been doing all along - providing quality entertainment that expands from the stereotypes we see on other channels. Basically, how Centric and TVOne have been succeeding.
Another thing that is more of a personal grievance for me is that customers will have to pay yet another bill just to watch the content on UMC. As if we don't have enough to pay with our escalating cable bills? While UMC's strictly digital service will launch with a free trial period through February 4th of next year, there is a "suggested" retail price of $4.99/month or $49.99/year thereafter (but with special limited time introductory pricing of $2.99/month or $29.99/year to start). All of this just sounds like a lot to me, but maybe I'm the only one who doesn't feel like having to pay for something else. Especially since there's so much free quality content already online.
Anyway, I write this all to say that at this point I can only be cautiously optimistic about this news. I'm curious about the viewer reaction, and ultimately what kinds of images we will see on the channel. Can it work? I think so, especially in this Shonda Rhimes world we live in. Clearly audiences crave diversity, and maybe this channel is the answer. But then again, maybe audiences will bypass this in favor of another episode of Real Housewives of Atlanta. Who knows?
What are your thoughts on UMC?