Two years after Paul Butler was hired by Earvin “Magic” Johnson as ASPiRE’s first general manager, the network has announced that they have parted company.
On Friday, May 15, Johnson announced that Butler was leaving Aspire to “spend more time with his family.”
Prior to the launch of ASPiRE in June 2012, Butler had been a long-time executive at the Gospel Music Channel (now called GMC TV) and last served there as senior vice president/general counsel.
Butler oversaw the launch of ASPiRE, which was one of four minority-owned channels chosen for broad distribution by Comcast as part of the FCC-mandated conditions for its acquisition of NBCUniversal. GMC has been handling operations for ASPiRE since the network’s creation.
Starting with Black-oriented re-runs, ASPiRE grew to reach 21 million cable subscribers wth a line-up that included original content like its talk show “Exhale.”
Johnson in a statement said the following:
Today, May 15, 2015, will be Paul Butler’s last day with ASPiRE where he has served as General Manager of the network since its launch in June 2012. Paul expressed a strong need to move home and spend more time with his family; and family always comes first.
Under his leadership, we have grown the network to more than 21 million subscribers, produced high quality original programming, built the network as a platform for the next generation of African-American creative talent and established valuable and strategic partnerships with advertisers, affiliates and organizations. Among these partnership — the American Black Film Festival (ABFF), The White House Initiative on HBCUs and the Billion Dollar Roundtable have all been very critical to our success. On behalf of everyone at ASPiRE and Magic Johnson Enterprises, I thank Paul for his commitment and passion and wish him the best.
For all his accomplishments, perhaps the most important thing Paul did was to build a great team that has the energy, talent and creativity to continue our mission. While we will miss Paul, we don’t expect ASPiRE to miss a beat. With the great team Paul assembled and help from our partners at UP, we will continue to grow, thrive and bring a distinct voice to the television landscape. We wish Paul and his family all the best.