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Black Entertainment Television (BET, stylised as BET★) is an American basic cable and satellite television channel that is owned by the BET Networks division of Viacom. It is the most prominent television network targeting African American audiences,[1] with approximately 88,255,000 American households (75.8% of households with television) receiving the channel.[2] The channel has offices in Washington, D.C., New York City, Los Angeles
Los Angeles
and Chicago.[3] Programming on the network consists of original and acquired television series and theatrically and direct-to-video-released films. The network has also aired a variety of stand-up comedy, news, and current affairs programs, and formerly aired mainstream rap, hip-hop and R&B music videos; the latter of which now air on its branded sister networks.

Contents

1 History 2 Programming

2.1 BET
BET
Walk of Fame Awards 2.2 BET
BET
Awards 2.3 BET
BET
Honors

3 International

3.1 BET
BET
International 3.2 Canada 3.3 France

4 BET
BET
Interactive 5 BET
BET
Home Entertainment 6 Criticism 7 See also 8 References 9 Further reading 10 External links

History[edit]

Logo from 2005 to 2012

The 2005–2012 logo often used a red star

After stepping down as a lobbyist for the cable industry, Freeport, Illinois native Robert L. Johnson decided to launch his own cable television network. Johnson would soon acquire a loan for $15,000 and a $500,000 investment from media executive John Malone to start the network.[4] The network, which was named Black Entertainment Television (BET), launched on January 25, 1980.[5] Initially broadcasting for two hours a week as a block of programming on Nickelodeon
Nickelodeon
(it would not be until 1983 that BET
BET
became a full-fledged channel), the network's lineup consisted of music videos and reruns of popular black sitcoms.[4] BET
BET
launched a news program, BET
BET
News, in 1988, with Ed Gordon as its anchor. Gordon later hosted other programs and specials on BET, such as Black Men Speak Out: The Aftermath, related to the 1992 Los Angeles riots, and a recurring interview show, Conversations with Ed Gordon.[6] In 1996, the talk show BET
BET
Tonight debuted with Tavis Smiley as host; in 2001, Ed Gordon replaced Smiley as host of the program. In 1991, the network became the first black-controlled TV company to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange.[4] Starting the late 1990s, the network expanded with the launch of digital cable networks: what is now the general interest channel BET Her
BET Her
originally launched as BET on Jazz (later known as BET
BET
Jazz and BET
BET
J), created originally to showcase jazz music-related programming, especially that of black jazz musicians; in 1998, it entered into a joint venture with Starz (then-owned by John Malone's Liberty Media) to launch a multiplex service of the premium channel featuring African American-oriented movies called BET
BET
Movies: Starz! 3 (later renamed Black Starz after BET
BET
dropped out of the venture following its purchase by Viacom, then-owner of Starz rival Showtime, and now known as Starz InBlack). In 2001, the network lost its status as a black-owned business when it was bought by media conglomerate Viacom
Viacom
for $3 billion. In 2005, Johnson retired from the network, turning over his titles of president and chief executive officer to former BET
BET
vice president Debra L. Lee. By 2007, the network had launched two more music-oriented networks, BET Hip-Hop
BET Hip-Hop
and BET
BET
Gospel. BET
BET
also launched a batch of original programming by this time, including reality shows Baldwin Hills and Hell Date, competition show Sunday Best, and town hall-style discussion show Hip Hop vs. America.[7] BET's president of entertainment Reginald Hudlin resigned from the network on September 11, 2008. He was then replaced by Stephen Hill, who is also executive vice president of music programming and talent.[8] BET
BET
announced in March 2010 that Ed Gordon would return to the network to host "a variety of news programs and specials."[9] In 2017, it was announced that Stephen Hill, President of Programming and Zola Mashariki, EVP Head of Original Programming stepped down. In the wake of this news, Connie Orlando, SVP Specials, Music Programming, and News, served as the interim Head of Programming, according to chairman and CEO Debra Lee.[10] Programming[edit] Main article: List of programs broadcast by BET BET's programming began with a wide scope of comedy, music, public affairs, and news programming including ComicView, Video Soul with Donnie Simpson, Video Vibrations, Softones, Screen Scene, Unreal/Planet Groove/Caribbean Rhythms, Jam Zone/Cita's World, Teen Summit, BET
BET
News
News
with Ed Gordon, Lead Story, BET
BET
Tonight with Tavis Smiley, and BET
BET
Nightly News. Original programming currently seen on BET
BET
include The Quad, and Being Mary Jane. By the early 2010s, the only regularly airing urban music video program on BET
BET
was 106 & Park, which debuted in September 2000 and ended in December 2014.[11] BET
BET
also airs a program block called BET
BET
Inspiration which features Christian programming. This block airs in lieu of infomercials in late night, which the network has not aired since 1997;[12] BET
BET
is one of a handful of cable channels and one of only two Viacom-owned networks to have discontinued airing infomercials (sister network Nick at Nite
Nick at Nite
ran infomercials in some overnight timeslots from 1987 to 1998, with series airing in that daypart since then). In early 2017, its Christian programming block changed its name to BET
BET
Rejoice. In addition, the channel broadcasts acquired television series, primarily in the form of sitcoms (such as The Parkers, Family Matters and Moesha), drama series (such as Scandal), and same-day or week-delayed late-night runs of syndicated talk shows (namely The Wendy Williams Show, The Real, and Dish Nation). Feature films released theatrically and on home video are also aired on the channel, comprising much of its primetime and weekend schedule. BET
BET
Walk of Fame Awards[edit] The BET
BET
Walk of Fame Awards were established in 1995 by BET. In 2004, proceeds were shared between United Negro College Fund
United Negro College Fund
(UNCF) and the BET
BET
Foundation, which executes the Healthy BET
BET
obesity awareness campaign and other pro-social causes like the annual charitable black-tie BET
BET
Walk of Fame ceremony.[13] BET
BET
Awards[edit] Main article: BET
BET
Awards The BET Awards were established in 2001 by the network to celebrate African Americans
African Americans
and other minorities in music, acting, sports and other fields of entertainment over the past year. The awards are presented annually and broadcast live on BET. BET
BET
commissioned Artist/Sculptor and Hip-Hop culture icon Carlos "Mare139" Rodriguez to design the Award sculpture. Global promotion is provided by Kroszover Entertainment. BET
BET
Honors[edit] Main article: The BET
BET
Honors The BET Honors were established in 2008 by the network to honor the lives and achievements of African-American luminaries. The awards are presented annually and broadcast on BET
BET
during Black History Month each February. International[edit] BET
BET
International[edit] Main article: BET
BET
International BET
BET
UK first transmitted on Videotron (now known as Virgin Media) and several other cable providers from 1993 until 1996.[14] In May 2007 by Ofcom, BET International
BET International
Inc. was given a license to rebroadcast in the United Kingdom. BET International
BET International
is the first international version of the channel and is available in Europe, Africa
Africa
and the Middle East
Middle East
through satellite providers. BET
BET
launched on February 27, 2008 on Sky channel 191 and began to be carried by Freesat
Freesat
channel 140 on August 8, 2008. BET+1 is also available on Sky channel 198 and Freesat
Freesat
channel 141, and is free-to-air. BET International shows a mix of content from the main BET
BET
channel and locally produced shows. An exclusive, but temporary, HD version of the channel was made to show the 2009 BET Awards on Freesat
Freesat
EPG 142. BET
BET
is additionally an associate member of the Caribbean Cable Cooperative.[15] BET
BET
launched an app called BET
BET
PLay allowing international access to BET
BET
content in over 100 countries in June 2016.[16] Canada[edit] BET
BET
became available in Canada
Canada
in October 1997 on most cable and satellite providers. The Canadian feed mirrors the American feed, though certain television programs and films are blacked out. Until 2017, they were replaced with repeats of old music video blocks (namely BET
BET
Music, The Pull Up and BET
BET
Now). As of March 2018, the feed now airs other acquired sitcoms and films in place of blacked-out programs. France[edit] Main article: BET
BET
(France) Since November 17, 2015.[citation needed] BET
BET
Interactive[edit] In 2006, BET
BET
Interactive, LLC became a subsidiary of BET.[17] BET
BET
also has a digital group including BET.com, BET
BET
on Blast, BET
BET
on Demand and BET
BET
mobile.[18] BET
BET
Home Entertainment[edit] BET's programming is distributed on DVD and through video-on-demand services under the name BET
BET
Home Entertainment. In 2007, a distribution deal was arranged with Paramount Home Entertainment.[19][20] Criticism[edit] A wide range of people have protested elements of BET's programming and actions, including Public Enemy rapper Chuck D,[21] journalist George Curry,[22] writer Keith Boykin,[23] comic book creator Christopher Priest,[24] filmmaker Spike Lee,[25] Syracuse University professor of finance Dr. Boyce Watkins,[26] former NFL player Burgess Owens,[27] and cartoonist Aaron McGruder
Aaron McGruder
(who, in addition to numerous critical references throughout his series, The Boondocks, made two particular episodes, "The Hunger Strike" and "The Uncle Ruckus Reality Show", criticizing the channel). As a result, BET
BET
heavily censors suggestive content from the videos that it airs, often with entire verses and scenes removed from certain rap videos.[28][29] Many scholars within the African American community maintain that BET perpetuates and justifies racism by affecting the stereotypes held about African Americans, and also by affecting the psyche of its young viewers through its bombardment of negative images of African Americans.[30] Following the death of civil rights leader Coretta Scott King
Coretta Scott King
in 2006, BET
BET
broadcast its regularly scheduled music video programming, rather than covering King's funeral live as CNN, Fox News
News
Channel, MSNBC, and BET
BET
competitors TV One and Black Family Channel did. The BET
BET
website streamed the funeral live, while the channel periodically broadcast taped, 60-second reports from the funeral by senior news correspondent Andre Showell. Michael Lewellen, BET's senior vice president for corporate communications, defended the decision: "We weighed a number of different options. In the end, we chose to offer a different kind of experience for BET
BET
viewers." Lewellen also said that BET
BET
received around "two dozen" phone calls and "a handful" of emails criticizing BET
BET
for not showing the King funeral live.[31] On the evening of the funeral, February 7, 2006, BET
BET
broadcast the tribute special Coretta Scott King: Married to the Mission, and BET
BET
repeated this the following Sunday, February 12.[32] Showell hosted a program featuring highlights of the funeral, Coretta Scott King: Celebrating Her Spirit, that broadcast that same day.[33] In its 2007 convention, the National Association of Black Journalists gave BET
BET
its Thumbs Down Award for not broadcasting King's funeral live.[34] The New York Times
The New York Times
reported that the Reverend Delman L. Coates and his organization Enough is Enough led protests every weekend outside the residences of BET
BET
executives against what they claim are negative stereotypes of black people perpetuated by BET
BET
music videos.[28] Enough is Enough backed an April 2008 report titled The Rap on Rap by the Parents Television Council
Parents Television Council
that claimed that BET's rap programming, which they believed contained gratuitous sexual, violent and profane content, was targeting children and teens.[35] In a 2010 interview, BET
BET
co-founder Sheila Johnson said that she herself is "ashamed" of what the network has become. "I don't watch it. I suggest to my kids that they don't watch it," she said. "When we started BET, it was going to be the Ebony magazine on television. We had public affairs programming. We had news... I had a show called Teen Summit, we had a large variety of programming, but the problem is that then the video revolution started up... And then something started happening, and I didn't like it at all. And I remember during those days we would sit up and watch these videos and decide which ones were going on and which ones were not. We got a lot of backlash from recording artists...and we had to start showing them. I didn't like the way women were being portrayed in these videos."[36] See also[edit]

African American portal Television portal

List of programs broadcast by Black Entertainment Television BET
BET
Awards BET
BET
Hip Hop Awards Blackbuster movies BET
BET
Her List of BET
BET
VJs/personalities New Urban Entertainment Rip The Runway The BET
BET
Honors

References[edit]

^ Obenson, Tambay A. (April 2, 2015). "Black TV Networks Are Apparently Having The Best Year Ever! Are You Watching?". IndieWire. ^ Seidman, Robert (February 22, 2015). "List of how many homes each cable network is in as of February 2015". TV by the Numbers. Zap2it. Retrieved February 24, 2015.  ^ " BET
BET
Careers". Viacom. Retrieved June 29, 2016. ^ a b c Johnson, Robert; Dumaine, Brian (2002-10-01). "The Market Nobody Wanted". Fortune Small Business. Retrieved 2008-09-08.  ^ "Corporate Fact Sheet". BET
BET
Networks. Archived from the original on September 12, 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-12.  ^ Johnson, Anne Janette (1996). "Gordon, Ed 1960 –". Contemporary Black Biography. Retrieved July 2, 2010.  ^ Deggans, Eric (July 24, 2007). " BET
BET
diversifies with confidence". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved December 30, 2010.  ^ Wiltz, Teresa; Farhi, Paul (2008-09-12). " BET
BET
President Resigns". The Washington Post. p. C7. Retrieved 2008-09-12.  ^ Bland, Bridget (March 8, 2010). "Ed Gordon: Returning to BET
BET
News". Black Voices. AOL. Retrieved July 2, 2010.  ^ Hipes, Patrick (2017-03-29). " BET
BET
Programming Shakeup: President Stephen Hill & EVP Zola Mashariki Exit". Deadline. Retrieved 2017-07-27.  ^ "BET's 106 & Park TV Show to End After 14 Years, Become Digital-Only". usmagazine.com. 14 November 2014. Retrieved 4 December 2014.  ^ BET
BET
Bails On Infomercials[permanent dead link], MediaPost', July 1, 2002. ^ BET
BET
Walk of Fame salutes Smokey Robinson.www.thefreelibrary.com ^ "Black Entertainment Television (Bet) Uk Launch – What Happened??? « Www.Madnews.Biz". Madnews.wordpress.com. 2007-12-30. Retrieved 2011-08-05.  ^ "Member channels of the Caribbean Cable Cooperative". Cctvcoop.com. Archived from the original on 2011-08-16. Retrieved 2011-08-05.  ^ Perez, Sarah. " BET
BET
Play is Viacom's new $4 per month streaming service, arriving today outside the U.S." TechCrunch. Retrieved 15 October 2017.  ^ "Companies: BET
BET
Interactive". LinkedIn. Retrieved 2011-07-26.  ^ "Companies: BET Networks Media Room". BET. Archived from the original on 2011-09-09. Retrieved 2011-07-26.  ^ " BET Networks Launches Home Entertainment Division Through Partnership With Paramount Home Entertainment" (Press release). 2007-05-24. Retrieved 2013-12-29. [...] today announced the launch of BET
BET
Home Entertainment through a partnership with Paramount Home Entertainment, who will distribute BET
BET
original television programming, made-for-DVD titles and acquired content on a worldwide basis.  ^ "Cable Guide 2010", adage.com, BET
BET
Home Entertainment, a collection of BET-branded offerings for the home environment, including DVDs and video on demand  ^ " BET
BET
2001 ; THE FISHTANK OF FOOLS". publicenemy.com. 2001-03-30. Retrieved 2008-02-05.  ^ "Viacom's BET
BET
Turns into ET". georgecurry.com. 2002-12-10. Archived from the original on 2011-07-11. Retrieved 2008-02-05.  ^ Keith Boykin
Keith Boykin
(2002-12-18). "All Hail Bob Johnson". Archived from the original on 2006-05-06. Retrieved 2008-02-05.  ^ Christopher J. Priest (February 2001). "the ostracized negro". Archived from the original on 2003-03-20. Retrieved 2008-02-05.  ^ August 3, 2011 12:03 PM ET. "Zap2it - TV news - Spike Lee
Spike Lee
Dismisses BET". Tv.zap2it.com. Retrieved 2011-08-05.  ^ Watkins, Boyce (2010-06-28). "Why there should be a black backlash against BET". theGrio.  ^ "Superbowl champ Burgess Owens to Kaepernick: Turn off BET
BET
and educate your ignorant self". Conservative News
News
Today. 2016-08-29. Retrieved 2017-10-13.  ^ a b Lee, Felicia R. (2007-11-05). "Protesting Demeaning Images in Media". The New York Times.  ^ Eggerton, John (2008-04-09). "PTC, Enough Is Enough Campaign Take on MTV, BET". Broadcasting & Cable.  ^ Adams, Jonathan (June 11, 2008). " BET
BET
vs. Boondocks". Colorlines. Archived from the original on March 3, 2010. Retrieved December 30, 2010.  ^ Shister, Gail (February 9, 2006). " BET
BET
leaves pack on King funeral -- it sticks with scheduled program". The Buffalo News. Retrieved December 30, 2010.  ^ "BET, BET.com Present Special
Special
Telecast, On-Line Coverage Honoring Life of Coretta Scott King" (Press release). BET. February 6, 2006. Archived from the original on 2011-07-14.  ^ " BET
BET
Celebration of Coretta Scott King
Coretta Scott King
Continues Sunday With Three Hours of Tributes, Special
Special
Moments" (Press release). February 9, 2006. Archived from the original on 2011-07-14.  ^ Williams, Juan (August 10, 2007). "'BET' Gets Thumbs Down Award From Journalists". Morning Edition. National Public Radio. Retrieved December 30, 2010.  ^ Moss, Linda; Umstead, R. Thomas (2008-04-10). "PTC Puts A Bad 'Rap' On BET, MTV". Multichannel News. Retrieved 2008-07-27.  ^ Grove, Lloyd (2010-04-29). " Sheila Johnson Slams BET". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 2010-05-22. 

Further reading[edit]

Muhammad, Tariq K. (June 1997), "The Branding of BET", Black Enterprise, 27 (11), pp. 156–171 

External links[edit]

Official website

v t e

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