Black Entertainment Television president of Entertainment Reggie Hudlin is leaving the company after three years in the position, the network announced Thursday.
In an internal memo to BET employees, network CEO Debra Lee said Hudlin is “returning to his entrepreneurial roots as an independent producer.”
Lee told Multichannel News that the executive’s departure was a “mutual” decision made between her and Hudlin. She praised Hudlin for his tenure at BET during which he produced 17 of the top 20 highest-rated shows in the network’s 28-year history.
Since his appointment in 2005, Hudlin, who along with his brother Warrington produced such films as House Party, Boomerang and The Great White Hype, had been behind some of the network’s biggest original series ever, including Keyshia Cole: The Way It Is, American Gangster, Baldwin Hills, and the network’s first scripted series, Somebodies. That latter series, about a group of college student slackers, drew 618,000 viewers for its Sept. 9 premiere episode.
In addition to the entertainment division producing 17 of the top 20 highest-rated shows in the network’s 28-year history under his watch, Hudlin also ramped up BET News, which garnered 13 awards for the division's news series and specials in two years, including four from the National Association of Black Journalists. Those accolades came from the group that had previously criticized the organization for its lack of news coverage.
But none of Hudlin’s shows amounted to a breakout hit or helped propel the network to the top of the cable ratings.
BET’s 0.5 second-quarter primetime household rating was down 17% from the 0.6 average for the corresponding period in 2007
Executive vice president of music programming and talent Stephen Hill will take over as interim head of entertainment, according to Lee.
“Reggie has played an invaluable role in the ongoing transformation of BET Networks, including the successful launch of our DVD division and laying a solid foundation for BET Films -- he has put the network on the path to even more success,” said Lee in the memo. “I’m thankful for everything he has contributed to our company. He is a true creative force and it has been an honor and pleasure to work with him.”