Open main menu

Black Family Channel

Black Family Channel (founded in 1999 as MBC Network) was an American cable television network which featured programming aimed at African-Americans. The network's schedule included a variety of programs including religious programs, sports, music, talk shows, and children's programs. During much of the time of its existence, it was the only wholly Black-owned and operated American cable television network (BET was bought by Viacom a year after its launch; and TV One was owned by Comcast & Radio One at the time).

Black Family Channel
Black Family Channel.png
ClosedApril 30, 2007
Owned byMajor Broadcasting Corporation
CountryUnited States
Formerly calledMBC Network Parent Company Black Television News Channel

The network was started by noted Florida attorney and philanthropist Willie E. Gary, former all-star baseball player Cecil Fielder, four-time heavyweight boxing champ Evander Holyfield, Marlon Jackson of The Jackson 5, and broadcast television veteran Alvin James through their business venture Major Broadcasting Corporation.[1]

The channel started off as Major Broadcasting Cable (MBC) Network. The name was rebranded Black Family Channel on October 1, 2004 in hopes that it would better identify the channel's content.[2]

BFC would effectively be run by actor/director Robert Townsend, who developed original programming for the network, including its most notable effort—the children's educational game show, The Thousand Dollar Bee, in which children would participate in tournament-style rounds of spelling challenges toward which the champion would receive a $1,000 bond for his or her college education.

Unlike its primary rival, the Viacom-owned Black Entertainment Television, Black Family Channel avoided rap and hip hop-based programming (they showed gospel music instead).[3] The network was available in up to 16 million homes in the US.

On April 24, 2007, BFC announced that they would cease as a cable channel, effective April 30, 2007, as part of a deal in which BFC's programming and subscriber base would be sold to the Gospel Music Channel.[4] On May 1, 2007, the deal was closed.

The station was an associate member of the Caribbean Cable Cooperative.[5]

Over-the-air coverageEdit

The network was also carried on two low-power television stations, W23BC serving the Jackson, MS media market, and WRCX-LP, which serves the Dayton, Ohio area. W23BC has since affiliated with Colours TV and (more recently) America One. WRCX has since affiliated with Ion Television.


  1. ^ McGee, Sherri. "Broadcasting the Gospel". Black Enterprise. Retrieved 1 November 1999. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  2. ^ Harris, Hamil. "MBC Network Changes Name To Black Family Channel". Black Enterprise. Retrieved September 1, 2004.
  3. ^ Downey, Kevin. "Slow Build for Black Family Channel". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved February 10, 2006.
  4. ^ Moss, Linda. "Black Family Channel-Gospel Music Channel Deal Is Official". Multichannel News. Retrieved May 1, 2007.
  5. ^ "Territory and Co-op Channels". Caribbean Cable Cooperative. Archived from the original on August 16, 2011. Retrieved 24 November 2013.