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) is anandthat is owned by theBET Networksdivision ofViacom. It is the most prominent television network targetingAfrican Americanaudiences,with approximately 88,255,000 American households (75.8% of households with television) receiving the channel.The channel has offices inWashington, D.C.New York CityLos AngelesandChicago.

Programming on the network consists of original and acquired television series and theatrically anddirect-to-video-released films. The network has also aired a variety ofstand-up comedynews, andcurrent affairsprograms, and formerly aired mainstreamrap, hip-hopandR&Bmusic videos; the latter of which now air on its branded sister networks.

After stepping down as a lobbyist for the cable industry,Freeport, IllinoisnativeRobert L. Johnsondecided to launch his owncable televisionnetwork. Johnson would soon acquire a loan for $15,000 and a $500,000 investment from media executiveJohn Maloneto 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 onNickelodeon(it would not be until 1983 that BET became a full-fledged channel), the networks lineup consisted ofmusic videosand reruns of popularblack sitcoms.[4]

BET launched a news program,BET News, in 1988, withEd Gordonas its anchor. Gordon later hosted other programs and specials on BET, such asBlack Men Speak Out: The Aftermath, related to the1992 Los Angeles riots, and a recurring interview show,Conversations with Ed Gordon.[6]In 1996, the talk showBET Tonightdebuted withTavis Smileyas 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 theNew York Stock Exchange.[4]Starting the late 1990s, the network expanded with the launch ofdigital cablenetworks: what is now the general interest channelBET Heroriginally launched as BET on Jazz (later known as BET Jazz and BET J), created originally to showcase jazz music-related programming, especially that of black jazz musicians; in 1998, it entered into ajoint venturewithStarz(then-owned by John MalonesLiberty Media) to launch a multiplex service of thepremium channelfeaturing African American-oriented movies called BET Movies: Starz! 3 (later renamed Black Starz after BET dropped out of the venture following its purchase by Viacom, then-owner of Starz rivalShowtime, and now known as Starz InBlack). In 2001, the network lost its status as a black-owned business when it was bought by media conglomerateViacomfor $3 billion. In 2005, Johnson retired from the network, turning over his titles of president and chief executive officer to former BET vice presidentDebra L. Lee.

By 2007, the network had launched two more music-oriented networks,BET Hip-HopandBET Gospel. BET also launched a batch of original programming by this time, including reality showsBaldwin HillsandHell Date, competition showSunday Best, and town hall-style discussion showHip Hop vs. America.[7]BETs president of entertainmentReginald Hudlinresigned 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 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]

BETs programming began with a wide scope of comedy, music,public affairs, and news programming includingComicView,Video SoulwithDonnie Simpson,Video Vibrations,Softones,Screen Scene,Unreal/Planet GrooveCaribbean Rhythms,Jam ZoneCitas World,Teen Summit,BET NewswithEd Gordon,Lead Story,BET TonightwithTavis Smiley, andBET Nightly News. Original programming currently seen on BET includeThe Quad, andBeing Mary Jane. By the early 2010s, the only regularly airing urban music video program on BET was106 & Park, which debuted in September 2000 and ended in December 2014.[11]

BET also airs a program block calledBET Inspirationwhich featuresChristianprogramming. This block airs in lieu ofinfomercialsin late night, which the network has not aired since 1997;[12]BET is one of a handful of cable channels and one of only two Viacom-owned networks to have discontinued airing infomercials (sister networkNick at Niteran 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 toBET Rejoice.

In addition, the channel broadcasts acquired television series, primarily in the form of sitcoms (such asThe Parkers,Family MattersandMoesha), drama series (such asScandal), and same-day or week-delayed late-night runs of syndicated talk shows (namelyThe Wendy Williams Show,The Real, andDish Nation). Feature films released theatrically and onhome videoare also aired on the channel, comprising much of its primetime and weekend schedule.

The BET Walk of Fame Awards were established in 1995 by BET. In 2004, proceeds were shared betweenUnited Negro College Fund(UNCF) and the BET Foundation, which executes the Healthy BET obesity awareness campaign and other pro-social causes like the annual charitable black-tie BET Walk of Fame ceremony.[13]

The BET Awards were established in 2001 by the 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.

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 duringBlack History Montheach February.

BET UK first transmitted on Videotron (now known as Virgin Media) and several other cable providers from 1993 until 1996.[14]

In May 2007 byOfcom, BET International Inc. was given a license to rebroadcast in the United Kingdom.BET Internationalis the first international version of the channel and is available inEuropeAfricaand theMiddle Eastthrough satellite providers. BET launched on February 27, 2008 on Sky channel 191 and began to be carried byFreesatchannel 140 on August 8, 2008. BET+1 is also available on Sky channel 198 and Freesat channel 141, and is free-to-air.BET Internationalshows a mix of content from the main 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 EPG 142.

BET is additionally an associate member of the Caribbean Cable Cooperative.[15]

BET launched an app called BET PLay allowing international access to BET content in over 100 countries in June 2016.[16]

BET became available in 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 (namelyBET Music,The Pull UpandBET Now).

In 2006, BET Interactive, LLC became a subsidiary of BET.[17]BET also has a digital group including m, BET on Blast, BET on Demand and BET mobile.[18]

BETs programming is distributed on DVD and through video-on-demand services under the name BET Home Entertainment. In 2007, a distribution deal was arranged withParamount Home Entertainment.[19][20]

A wide range of people have protested elements of BETs programming and actions, includingPublic EnemyrapperChuck D,[21]journalistGeorge Curry,[22]writerKeith Boykin,[23]comic book creatorChristopher Priest,[24]filmmakerSpike Lee,[25]Syracuse Universityprofessor of financeDr. Boyce Watkins,[26]former NFL playerBurgess Owens,[27]and cartoonistAaron McGruder(who, in addition to numerous critical references throughout his series,The Boondocks, made two particular episodes,The Hunger StrikeandThe Uncle Ruckus Reality Show, criticizing the channel). As a result, 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 leaderCoretta Scott Kingin 2006, BET broadcast its regularly scheduled music video programming, rather than covering Kings funeral live asCNNFox News ChannelMSNBC, and BET competitorsTV OneandBlack Family Channeldid. The 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, BETs 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 viewers. Lewellen also said that BET received around two dozen phone calls and a handful of emails criticizing BET for not showing the King funeral live.[31]On the evening of the funeral, February 7, 2006, BET broadcast the tribute specialCoretta Scott King: Married to the Mission, and 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, theNational Association of Black Journalistsgave BET its Thumbs Down Award for not broadcasting Kings funeral live.[34]

The New York Timesreported that the ReverendDelman L. Coatesand his organization Enough is Enough led protests every weekend outside the residences of BET executives against what they claim are negativestereotypes of black peopleperpetuated by BET music videos.[28]Enough is Enough backed an April 2008 report titledThe Rap on Rapby theParents Television Councilthat claimed that BETs rap programming, which they believed contained gratuitous sexual, violent and profane content, was targeting children and teens.[35]

In a 2010 interview, BET co-founderSheila Johnsonsaid that she herself is ashamed of what the network has become. I dont watch it. I suggest to my kids that they dont watch it, she said. When we started BET, it was going to be theEbonymagazine on television. We had public affairs programming. We had news… I had a show calledTeen 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 didnt 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 didnt like the way women were being portrayed in these videos.[36]

List of programs broadcast by Black Entertainment Television

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.

BET Careers. Viacom. Retrieved June 29, 2016.

Johnson, Robert; Dumaine, Brian (2002-10-01).The Market Nobody Wanted.

Corporate Fact Sheet. BET Networks. Archived fromthe originalon September 12, 2008

Johnson, Anne Janette (1996).Gordon, Ed 1960 .

Deggans, Eric (July 24, 2007).BET diversifies with confidence.

Wiltz, Teresa; Farhi, Paul (2008-09-12).BET President Resigns.

Bland, Bridget (March 8, 2010).Ed Gordon: Returning to BET News.

Hipes, Patrick (2017-03-29).BET Programming Shakeup: President Stephen Hill & EVP Zola Mashariki Exit.

BETs 106 & Park TV Show to End After 14 Years, Become Digital-Only.

Black Entertainment Television (Bet) Uk Launch What Happened??? « 2007-12-30

Member channels of the Caribbean Cable Cooperative. Archived fromthe originalon 2011-08-16

Perez, Sarah.BET Play is Viacoms new $4 per month streaming service, arriving today outside the U.S.

Companies: BET Networks Media Room. BET. Archived fromthe originalon 2011-09-09

BET Networks Launches Home Entertainment Division Through Partnership With Paramount Home Entertainment(Press release). 2007-05-24

[…] today announced the launch of BET Home Entertainment through a partnership with Paramount Home Entertainment, who will distribute BET original television programming, made-for-DVD titles and acquired content on a worldwide basis.

BET Home Entertainment, a collection of BET-branded offerings for the home environment, including DVDs and video on demand

BET 2001; THE FISHTANK OF FOOLS. 2001-03-30

Viacoms BET Turns into ET. 2002-12-10. Archived fromthe originalon 2011-07-11

Keith Boykin (2002-12-18).All Hail Bob Johnson. Archived fromthe originalon 2006-05-06

Christopher J. Priest (February 2001).the ostracized negro. Archived fromthe originalon 2003-03-20

August 3, 2011 12:03 PM ET.Zap2it – TV news – Spike Lee Dismisses BET.

Watkins, Boyce (2010-06-28).Why there should be a black backlash against BET.

Superbowl champ Burgess Owens to Kaepernick: Turn off BET and educate your ignorant self.

Lee, Felicia R. (2007-11-05).Protesting Demeaning Images in Media.

Eggerton, John (2008-04-09).PTC, Enough Is Enough Campaign Take on MTV, BET.

Adams, Jonathan (June 11, 2008).BET vs. Boondocks.

Shister, Gail (February 9, 2006).BET leaves pack on King funeral — it sticks with scheduled program.

BET, Present Special Telecast, On-Line Coverage Honoring Life of Coretta Scott King(Press release). BET. February 6, 2006. Archived fromthe originalon 2011-07-14.

BET Celebration of Coretta Scott King Continues Sunday With Three Hours of Tributes, Special Moments(Press release). February 9, 2006. Archived fromthe originalon 2011-07-14.

Moss, Linda; Umstead, R. Thomas (2008-04-10).PTC Puts A Bad Rap On BET, MTV.

Grove, Lloyd (2010-04-29).Sheila Johnson Slams BET.

Muhammad, Tariq K. (June 1997),The Branding of BET,

Nickelodeon Kids & Family Virtual Worlds Group

English-language television stations in the United States

Television channels and stations established in 1983

Articles with dead external links from July 2017

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Articles with unsourced statements from November 2016

This page was last edited on 5 February 2018, at 20:59.

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