Hip-Hop Cable Net Looks Fabulous


Former Viacom Inc. and Fox Family Channel executive Tracy Lawrence and
hip-hop impresario Russell Simmons are evidently teaming up to develop an
urban-targeted hip-hop service to launch sometime in 2003.

The network, tentatively titled Fabulous TV, is eyeing a mix of acquired and
original entertainment-based programming, urban music and fashion fare,
according to sources close to the situation.

The service would also tap the creative services of former Motown Record Co.
LP chairman and current NuAmerica Music CEO Andre Harrell.

Fabulous TV would bring together two executives who earlier this year had
been planning separate urban-targeted services.

Lawrence -- who left the network now known as ABC Family earlier this year
following the sale of Fox Family to The Walt Disney Co. -- was initially
planning to launch a similar service to Fabulous TV. It would have targeted
African Americans, but it would have been multicultural in nature, she said at
the time.

Simmons -- founder of Def Jam Recordings and currently CEO of hip-hop and
urban-apparel company Phat Farm -- was expected to showcase hip-hop music videos
and music-related programming through his programming venture, sources close to
the situation said.

Simmons -- who has worked with Home Box Office on several programming
projects, including the Def Comedy Jam 1990s stand-up comedy series and
the current Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry -- was also in talks with
Comcast Corp. to either become an investor in the channel or secure

Over the last three months, sources said, the two executives have joined to
pursue a network aimed at 18- through 34-year-olds who have grown up on hip-hop
culture. Neither Lawrence nor Simmons could be reached for