Impact Network Rebrands From Faith and Gospel Channel to Black Family-Friendly Lifestyle Entertainment (EXCLUSIVE)

Rexa Vella

Impact Network Rebrands From Faith and Gospel Channel to Black Family-Friendly Lifestyle Entertainment (EXCLUSIVE)

Impact Network is rebranding from a faith and gospel-focused multiplatform channel to a family-friendly lifestyle entertainment channel focused on Black audiences.

Founded in 2010 by Bishop Wayne T. Jackson and wife Beverly Jackson, the 100% Black-owned independent network began as a channel airing sermons and religious talk shows. In 2022, with the appointment of Wayne and Beverly’s son Royal Jackson to chief creative officer, Impact Network moved into entertainment programming, including both scripted and unscripted titles with a strategic focus on religious content.

Now, Impact is shifting its lineup once more to encompass “family-friendly lifestyle entertainment, premium scripted and engaging non-scripted series in addition to programming initiatives around health/wellness/financial/cultural areas affecting Black communities.”

Among Impact’s new offerings are unscripted syndicated series licensed from Fox First Run, including “You Bet Your Life” with Jay Leno and Kevin Eubanks, “25 Words or Less” with Meredith Louise Vieira and “Divorce Court,” as well as Lifetime reality series “The Jacksons: Next Generation.”

Additionally, Impact will begin aired acquired films “Betty & Coretta” starring Angela Bassett and Mary J. Blige; “The Clark Sisters: First Ladies of Gospel” from Queen Latifah, Blige and Missy Elliot; “The Trip to Bountiful” starring Cicely Tyson, Vanessa Williams, Blair Underwood, and Keke Palmer; “Twist of Faith” starring Toni Braxton; and “I Am Somebody’s Child: The Regina Louise Story” starring Ginnifer Goodwin, Angela Fairley, and Sherri Saum.

Impact is also focused on expanding its original content offering, including an original film that wrapped production in 2023, a 10-episode original family series, and an 8-episode non-scripted series that features women “who are working to overcome life’s obstacles,” all of which will debut this year.

The network’s Impact Studios space in Detroit will be used for shooting original talk shows and lifestyle programs for its daytime lineup.

The awards show business is another area of planned expansion for Impact, with three events lined up for this year: the first one airing in April during Impact Health Month, another during Juneteenth/Black Music Month, and a third in “Pink October,” for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Impact Network will continue its religious content-focus through Impact Gospel, a FAST channel centered around Gospel lifestyle and entertainment, which is distributed by Amagi.

The goal with Impact Network’s new rebrand is to offer viewers more content that the entire family can watch, while giving advertisers more reason to partner with Impact, now that it has a broader demographic appeal outside religious and gospel content. (Since adding entertainment programming in 2022, Impact has secured more than 20 national advertisers in its first year of commercial expansion, including Verizon, Chase and Walmart.)

“Impact Network was designed to Impact the whole being, we started by focusing on the spiritual wellness of viewers, now it’s time to bring a holistic approach to Impact our audiences and community,” founder and CEO Wayne T. Jackson said.

While executive vice president Royal Jackson tells Variety there “may be some hardliners” who want Impact to remain a religious-only focused network, he says the majority of Impact viewers are “actually leaning into” the lifestyle and entertainment programming.

“We’re seeing that this is what they’ve wanted for so long and they’ve been applauding Impact that we’re actually providing this sort of content, something that the family can enjoy, something that is going to have a diverse lifestyle approach,” Jackson said. “You don’t only get up and go to church on Sunday — or Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday — you also go to the store, we shop, we live, we eat, we watch sports, we do everything that anyone else would do.”

He continued: “And now that Impact has the ability to support a total lifestyle offering versus just religious programming, it has been very essential for the viewer. What we’re also seeing is that there have been new viewers that have come to Impact because they’ve been looking for a family-based solution within our community, and being able to show a diversity of the culture and a community, where it’s not just about discrimination or victimization or criminalization. They see themselves reflected in this programming and just the everyday lifestyle.”

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