Johnson to Take Audience Calls


Black Entertainment Television chairman Bob Johnson plans to appear on-air
Monday night during a live broadcast of BET Tonight.

Johnson will take viewer calls, and he is expected to address why he declined
to renew the contract of popular BET Tonight host Tavis Smiley.

BET confirmed last Wednesday that it would not renew Smiley's contract. Late
last Friday, the network said it had terminated the remainder of Smiley's
contract, which was set to expire in September.

BET stated that the decision not to renew Smiley's contract was made by
Johnson, and not by BET parent company Viacom Inc.

'As the person responsible for this network and the individual who made the
decision, it is important to offer my perspective on this matter, which, until
now, has been ignored,' Johnson said in the press release.

The special one-hour segment of BET Tonight will air live at 11 p.m. A
tape-delayed version will run on the West Coast.

BET Tonight will enlist the help of guest hosts until a permanent host is
named in time for the fall season.