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Black Entertainment Television

Black Entertainment Television (BET, part of BET Networks) is an American, Viacom-owned cable network based in Washington, D.C.. Currently viewed in more than 90 million homes worldwide, it is the most prominent television network targeting African American audiences. The network was launched on January 25, 1980, by its founder, Robert L. Johnson. Programming of the network comprises mainstream music and movies and television series. Television series such as The Game, Let's Stay Together, and 106 & Park.

Its programming began with a wide scope of comedy, music, public affairs, and news programming: ComicView; Video Soul with Donnie Simpson, Video Vibrations, Softones, Unreal/Planet Groove/Caribbean Rhythms, Jam Zone/Cita's World; Teen Summit; and BET News with Ed Gordon, Lead Story, BET Tonight with Tavis Smiley, and BET Nightly News.

Its urban music programming show 106 & Park debuted in 2001. Taped before a live audience, the hosts count down the top 10 videos requested by viewers and inviting rap and R&B artists to promote their music.On Sunday mornings, BET broadcasts a lineup of network-produced Christian programming and gospel music.



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 earned a $500,000 investment from John Malone to start the network.[1] BET began broadcasting on January 25, 1980.[2] Initially, the network lineup consisted of music videos and reruns of popular black sitcoms.[1]

BET launched a news program, BET News, in 1988, with Ed Gordon as the anchor. Gordon would later host 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.[3] In 1996, the talk show BET Tonight debuted with Tavis Smiley as host; in 2001, Ed Gordon replaced Tavis Smiley. In 2002, as part of a reorganization focusing on entertainment productions,

In 1991, the network became the first black-controlled company on the New York Stock Exchange.[1] In 2003, the network was no longer a black owned business when it was bought by media conglomerate Viacom for $3 billion. In 2005, Johnson retired from the network, turning over his titles as President and Chief Executive Officer to Debra L. Lee, a former Vice President.

In 2007, the network expanded into other BET-related digital cable networks: Centric, BET Hip-Hop, and BET Gospel. BET also launched a batch of original programming, including reality shows Baldwin Hills and Hell Date, competition show Sunday Best, and town hall-style discussion show Hip Hop vs. America.[4]

BET Shows

The network also is expanding into late night with a topical comedic series hosted by former CNN anchor T.J. Holmes and will launch a competition reality series "Apollo Live" on sister channel Centric.Second Generation Wayans based on the lives of the famous comedy family and starring Craig Wayans, Damien Dante Wayans and George O. Gore II and House Husbands, actually a semi-scripted comedy a la Curb Your Enthusiasm starring Kevin Hart that's based on a sketch from the 2011 BET Awards. The reality series, The Mathis Project, will be fronted by Judge Greg Mathis and examine real unsolved cases. The late-night Don t Sleep will use comedy to examine social issues. It joins a flurry of new late-night entries including FX's Chris Rock-produced sketch series starring political comedian W. Kamau Bell and Bravo s expansion of Andy Cohen s Watch What Happens Live to a strip. BET new scripted series and new reality series and will branch into late night with a talk show hosted by former CNN anchor T.J. Holmes. New seasons of hit comedy The Game as well as Let s Stay Together, freshman comedy Reed Between the Lines and gospel singing competition show Sunday Best. Meanwhile, the network is getting into the made-for-TV movie business. Being Mary Jane, from Game showrunners Mara Brock Akil and Salim Akil and starring Gabrielle Union are bringing a lot of good attention to BET. Additional Series include Gun Hill, a cop drama starring Larenz Tate, and The Mindless Behavior Project. The network also has lined up several films that bowed at festivals, including the Sundance hit Luv, starring Common, and Middle of Nowhere, with Omari Hardwick and Emayatzy E. Corinealdi. Additionally, sister channel Centric will bring back Apollo Live(Showtimw @ the Apollo), updating the classic amateur night at the Harlem venue with a singing competition featuring Doug E. Fresh and Michael Bivins as judges. Jamie Foxx, Marcus King and Don Weiner are executive producers BET has been the No. 1 ad-supported cable network among African-Americans ages 18-49 for 12 consecutive years.


Centric (formerly BET on Jazz, BET Jazz and BET J) is a spin-off cable television channel of BET (Black Entertainment Television), created originally to showcase jazz music-related programming, especially that of black jazz musicians. It is now a general interest channel geared towards African-American adults. Centric is available in 28 million homes on DirecTV, Dish Network, Verizon FiOS, AT&T U-verse, Time Warner Cable and many other digital cable providers as part of the MTV Digital Suite. The channel is additionally an associate member of the Caribbean Cable Cooperative.[1]


BET International

BET UK first transmitted on Videotron (now known as Virgin Media) and several other cable networks from 1993 up until 1996.[5]

In May 2007 by Ofcom, BET International Inc was given a license to re-broadcast in the United Kingdom. BET International is the first international version of the channel and is available in Europe, Africa and the Middle East through satellite providers.

BET is available on Sky channel 191 after launching on Wednesday February 27, 2008 and on Freesat channel 140 after launching on August 8, 2008. BET+1 is also available on Sky channel 198 and Freesat channel 141, and is Free-to-air. BET International shows a mix of content from the main BET channel and locally produced shows. An exclusive HD version of the channel was made to show the BET Awards 2009 on Freesat EPG 142

BET is additionally an associate member of the Caribbean Cable Cooperative.[6]


BET became available in Canada in October 1997 on most cable and satellite carriers. The Canadian feed is the same as the American feed, though sitcoms and films with rights belonging to other parties in Canada are replaced with a block of music videos without a BET logo appearing on-screen.

BET Awards

The BET Awards were established in 2001 by the Black Entertainment Television network to celebrate 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 commissioned Artist/Sculptor and Hip Hop culture icon Carlos Mare139 Rodriguez to design the Award sculpture. Global promotion is provided by Kroszover Entertainment.

BET Interactive

In 2006, BET Interactive, LLC became a subsidiary of BET.[7] BET also has a digital group including, BET on Blast, BET on Demand and BET mobile.[8]


File:BET logo 2005-2012.svg|Logo from 2005-2012 File:BET logo (red star).svg|The 2005-2012 logo often used a red star File:BET Logo.svg|In 2012 the star was made solid

See also

  • BET Awards
  • BET Hip Hop Awards
  • Blackbuster movies
  • Centric
  • List of BET VJs/personalities
  • Rip The Runway
  • The BET Honors


Further reading

External links

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