From The Grio –– Former comedian and television personality Byron Allen recently announced that he would be launching a new high-definition channel for African-Americans called Legacy TV that will primarily focus on black history and biographies of African-American leaders.

Similarly this week, former BET executive Curtis Symonds promulgated that he, along with other industry veterans, would be initiating the HBCU Network this summer, which will highlight sports and education-related content relative to HBCUs.

And, earlier this year, former UN ambassador Andrew Young and Martin Luther King III also disclosed that they would also be casting “the first ever 24/7 broadcast television network for African-Americans called Bounce TV.

Click here to view a slideshow of highlights from the 2011 BET Awards

This network, which is expected to initiate this fall, reportedly will feature news programming, live sports and events from the nation’s largest African-American athletic conference, the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) tournament, exclusive movies, inspirational faith-based programs, etc.

Since the promulgation of the above mentioned news, there has been a vast range of opinions marked with strong dichotomy. Some critics wholeheartedly believe that there is no need for new African-American television networks, since BET already covers current events, cultural trends, entertainment and other important topics from a black perspective.

Conversely, there are certain commentators who think that new black channels like Legacy TV, HBCU Network and Bounce TV are necessary to fill voids associated with BET and to help ensure that stories of importance to the black community get more exposure. Who is right in their assessment?

First, in examining the opinions of the critics of Legacy TV, HBCU Network and Bounce TV, one has to consider whether BET has voids that could be filled with new and upcoming black networks. Without equivocation, BET has been the standard in black television programming for over 30 years. Diverse and intelligent shows over the years like Video Soul with Donnie Simpson and Sherri Carter, Bobby Jones Gospel, Weekly with Ed Gordon, BET Tonight with Tavis Smiley, Teen Summit, Rap City, The Game and The Mo’Nique Show, amongst others, have graced our homes. And, annual shows like the BET Awards and Celebration of Gospel never seem to be devoid of great performances and surprises.

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