Buffalo, NY -- Bridges TV, the first-ever American Muslim television network in English, will premiere nationwide at 12 p.m. eastern time on November 30, 2004. Broadcasting from Buffalo, NY, Bridges TV will be subscriber and advertiser supported and will target primarily the 8 million Muslims of North America in English. Bridges TV will feature English language programs focused on celebrating the American Muslim lifestyle and culture.
Bridges TV will launch nationwide on November 30, 2004 through GlobeCast World TV, a national satellite provider, with more than one million subscribers and via Broadband television on the Internet. The network recently has signed a carriage affiliation agreement with Comcast Cable, the nation's largest cable company, with more than 22 million subscribers. Buckeye CableSystem has also signed a carriage affiliation agreement with the network and will launch Bridges TV in January in the Greater Toledo areas of Ohio and Michigan.
The launch of Bridges TV comes at a time when the Muslim community around the world is now, more than ever, in the spotlight.
"Every day on television we are barraged by stories of a 'Muslim extremist, militant, terrorist, or insurgent.' But the stories that are missing are the countless stories of Muslim tolerance, progress, diversity, service and excellence that Bridges TV hopes to tell. Bridges TV provides the first-ever full-time home for American Muslims to celebrate and share their stories with the world," Bridges TV founder and CEO, Muzzammil Hassan, said.
World heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali, a subscriber of the network, believes that Bridges TV will allow Americans to get to know American Muslims the way they would get to know their next door neighbor, seeing them everyday in natural situations at work and at home. "Bridges TV gives American Muslims a voice of their own on the airwaves for Americans of all races and religions to hear," said Ali.
Foreign language channels in the U.S. broadcast from Muslim countries appeal primarily to immigrant parents and do not adequately address the issues and unique culture of the English-speaking American Muslims, added Hassan.
According to a Zogby 2000 survey, the American Muslim population of 7 million is expected to more than double to 15 million in the next ten years. Bridges TV presents an un-served and upscale niche market to cable operators and advertisers since it appeals to an affluent, well-educated, younger population with unique consumption behavior and brand preferences, according to a 2002 Cornell University research study.
Bridges TV premieres with Bridges News, the network's original news show hosted by former NBC news correspondent Asad Mahmood, as well as programming that includes talk, health, cooking and children's shows, sitcoms and movies.
"I am truly impressed by the quality of programming on Bridges TV - it is simply spectacular," Sheldon Altfeld, a four-time Emmy winning Hollywood producer, said.
With U.S. funding from more than 50 investors; Ropart Asset Management, a Connecticut-based private equity fund; more than 10,000 paying members and 50,000 pledged subscribers; Bridges TV is well-positioned for its historic launch.
"Before launching our network, we wanted to ensure there was an audience for Bridges TV. For the past year, more than 10,000 American Muslims have paid a monthly fee to show support for Bridges TV - a channel that did not exist on the airways until now. We cannot think of another television network that garnered paying members before it was available. This outpouring of support from American Muslims shows not only that there is an audience for Bridges TV, but also that American Muslims are deeply committed to changing perceptions of Muslims around the world," said Hassan.
Bridges TV Executive Producer Tayie Rehem, formerly of CBC Network in Canada, said that he already is reaching out to Kurtis Productions, a Chicago-based production company that has produced such programs as The New Explorers for PBS, to develop original series and specials, and Unity Productions, producers of the PBS documentary Muhammad: Legacy of a Prophet. Another key partner is Fine Media Group, a production company that recently released the animated movie Muhammad in theaters across America. The network already has two years worth of content in its programming library.
In addition, deals are pending in Canada with Rogers Cable, which expects to carry the network upon license approval by the Canadian Radio-TV & Telecom Commission (CRTC). The network expects a CRTC approval by summer 2005.
Additional information, a media kit, photos and programming samples are available at http://www.bridgestv.com/.
Video, Interview and Photo Opportunity: Bridges TV will premiere nationwide during an inter-faith launch ceremony led by Imam W. Deen Mohammed, President of The Mosque Care. Mohammed is the head of the largest American Muslim organization, consisting of two million African-American Muslims and 600 American mosques. The press conference starts at 11:00 am ET on Tuesday, November 30, 2004 at the Marriott Hotel, 1340 Millersport Highway, Amherst, NY 14221. Dr. Khalid Qazi, President of the Muslim Public Affairs Council of Western New York, will host the ceremony. To attend, please call (716) 870-9434, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Directions to Marriott Hotel: From Buffalo Airport take 33 West to 90 East. Go one mile on 90 East and merge onto 290 West. After four miles, take exit 5B. Go 0.1 miles and the Marriott will be on your left.
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