CNN got a ringing endorsement this morning from the unlikeliest of places — Sean Combs. Talking to TV critics at the TCA Summer TV Press Tour 2013 about the fall launch of his new cable network Revolt, Combs said that if cable networks were unbundled and viewers got to decide what channels they’d hang on to, “You’d keep CNN – or you’d keep Fox if you were a Republican — you would keep ESPN and probably keep The Weather Channel. Why would you keep those four? Because they are focused, live…they give you what you want. If it’s news you wanted, you went to CNN. If it’s sports, you went to ESPN. If it’s music you want, and you are a millennial, you are homeless. You have nowhere to go. You are out there all alone…But that is no more. I’m here to be the new No. 1 name in music. I would love to be humbled one day to be come compared to ESPN or CNN.”
Last month, Sean Combs’ Revolt TV finalized a national carriage agreement with Time Warner Cable ahead of its fall launch, putting it on track to launch in 25 million homes, though talks with other distributors are ongoing. This morning, Combs worked the breakfast room at the tour like a seasoned campaigner, shaking hands with critics and making pleasant small talk. Up on stage, he apologized to those seated in the left side of the ballroom whose hands he had not had time to grab.
Revolt, which Combs leads with MTV veteran Andy Schuon, is one of four minority-owned independent networks Comcast pledged to distribute as a condition of getting FCC approval of its NBCUniversal merger. Combs is convinced he can bring millennials back to television, explaining that that generation keeps telling him “television is about to be nowhere” to which he says he responds, “Television is about to be everywhere — it’s about to be on your toilet…My mission is to get kids back to television.”