The Black News Channel has pulled the plug after the 2-year-old venture failed to meet payroll and lost the backing of its biggest investor, reports the Associated Press. Princell Hair, the company’s president and CEO, told employees Friday in a memo that the news network was ceasing live production and would file for bankruptcy. BNC was available in some 50 million homes with cable and satellite but had failed to attract many viewers.
The network, founded in 2020 by former GOP congressman J.C. Watts, hired more than 250 Black journalists and production personnel last year in a relaunch following an investment by Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shahid Khan.
But it was consistently losing money, despite two rounds of layoffs, and Khan decided to stop investing in it further. It is currently three weeks short of payroll, a company spokesman said.
Hair, a former CNN executive, took over in the relaunch last year. BNC brought on contributors like such as Charles Blow, columnist at the New York Times, and commentator Marc Lamont Hill. Correspondents were stationed in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta and Philadelphia.
The end came even as BNC recorded its biggest audience ever this week with its live coverage of the Judiciary Committee hearing for U.S. Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, Hair said.