BET Launches Holmes Talker, Scripted Series


New York — BET will launch a new late-night talk show
starring former CNN anchor T.J. Holmes, as well as several
new scripted series, as part of its 2012-13 original programming

The African-American targeted
network also unveiled its new tagline,
We Got You, representing its commitment
to its core African-American audience,
said BET CEO Debra Lee, who
hosted the network’s upfront presentation
in New York last Wednesday
(April 18).

BET sister network Centric also
rolled out a new tagline, What’s Good,
defining its lineup of new and returning
series, including a new version of
the variety show It’s Showtime at The
, a syndication staple from 1987
to 2008.

BET’s new late-night talk series,
Don’t Sleep!
, will tackle social issues
and current events important to BET’s
audience, network officials said. The
show is the first late-night effort from
BET since its cancelled The Mo’Nique
in 2011, and the first series project
for Holmes, who left CNN to join
BET this past December.

On the scripted front, the network will launch two
new scripted comedy series: Second Generation Wayans,
starring Craig Wayans and Damien Dante Wayans, as
well as George O. Gore II (My Wife And Kids) and Tatyana
Ali (Fresh Prince of Bel Air); and House Husbands,
which is on a 2011 BET Awards comedy sketch starring
Kevin Hart, Nelly, Bobby Brown, Anthony Anderson and
Nick Cannon, according to BET officials.

BET will also launch a new crime reality series, The
Mathis Project
, featuring Judge Greg Mathis, that aims to
empower neighborhoods plagued by unsolved homicides.

The Viacom-owned network will also launch a new
movie franchise, BET Premiere Cinema, which will feature
never-before-seen films on TV such as The Mindless
Behavior Project
, as well as original films such as Being
Mary Jane
, starring
Gabrielle Union as a
successful single TV
news anchor living
a challenging and
compl icated life;
and Gun Hill, a high-powered cop drama is about identical
twins on opposite sides of life starring Larenz Tate,
the network said.

BET sister network Centric will bring The Apollo Theater
in New York’s Harlem back to television for a new competition
series Apollo Live, hosted by comedian Tony Rock.
The network will also expand its Soul Train Awards franchise
to include a comedy showcase and a music concert,
network officials said.

BET officials said they are not concerned about competition
from more mainstream networks such as We TV and
Bravo that are looking to target African-American viewers,
telling advertising executives in the audience that BET is
serving black viewers on a 24-hour basis.

“Those networks are imitators and wanna-bes that want
a part of the black audience, but they don’t want to make a
commitment,” Louis Carr, BET Networks president of acdvertising
sales, said. “We’re happy the industry recognizes
that the audience needs to be addressed, but we’ve known
that for 32 years. We’ve decided to build our content … on
reflecting, respecting and elevating black consumers.”