Bridges Network announces plans for first U.S. Muslim channel

The first U.S.-based national Muslim television channel is planned for debut in New York City during the summer of 2004.

Bridges Network of New York said the launch is contingent on how quickly the enterprise can gather the 10,000 paying members necessary to demonstrate public support for such a channel.

The English-language channel would feature news, talk shows, “wholesome” sitcoms, advice shows, children’s programming and movies about Muslim life in the United States. Programming will mostly be created from scratch, since English-language shows targeting American Muslims do not exist, the company said.

The venture is being led by Muzzammil S. Hassan, MBA, a bank vice-president in New York, and Omar S. Amanat, founder of Tradescape, an Internet brokerage firm. Amanat sold Tradescape last year to E*Trade for $280 million.

Bridges TV hopes to emulate business models like Telemundo and Black Entertainment Network to create a diverse genre of programming for members of the American Muslim community. That group is composed approximately one-quarter each of South Asian, African-American, Arab and others.

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