BET Unveils New Series, Repurposing Plans

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Black Entertainment Television will unveil at least three original shows
during the 2002-03 season, while pursuing repurposing rights to shows from
sister services Showtime and United Paramount Network.

During a Tuesday-morning press conference recapping BET's status one year
after its $3 billion deal with Viacom Inc., BET executives said the network is
exploring ways to take advantage of its synergistic programming relationships
with other Viacom networks.

BET executive vice president of entertainment programming and network
operations Curtis Gadson revealed that the African-American-targeted network is
talking with Showtime about repurposing the pay service's popular series,
Soul Food, as well as some shows from UPN -- although no deals have been
reached.

BET is also talking with Nickelodeon about creating a kids-targeted
programming block featuring some of Nick's shows.

'It's part of our strategy to work synergistic deals with our sister and
brother networks at Viacom,' Gadson said.

The three 30-minute original shows slated to air in September are Cheryl
and Friends
, a talk show hosted by comedian Cheryl Underwood;
Grilled, a variety show; and Table 12, a reality show that
encounters real people's experiences dining in a shopping-mall food
court.

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