BET Strategic Opportunities - December 2008



In the past year, under the tutelage of Debra Lee and Reginald Hudlin, the network invested in more original programming and staffed up its entertainment division. While many new programs were introduced, none of them can be called breakout hits, something the network needs desperately. And so, Reg Hudlin left the network in September, and new programming presidents have been named.  Where will the network go now? A few new series are slated for first quarter, with reality remaining the dominant format. Political programming is also taking a more prominent  seat on the network (Inaugural Ball, election specials).


BET is a great climate for new program ideas dealing with provocative African-American themes.

The network has tried to address criticism that its programming is low-grade without social commentary, and has aired many news, political, documentary and issue-oriented programming. Programs and specials that deal with African-American lifestyle, family, beliefs, community issues and experiences are all viable for BET.  Music is the core of many hours.

The success of celebrity reality series KEYSHIA COLE and DMX opened up new programming options for BET development and the viewer.  College reality series have done well and now celebrity formats of new and established African-American artists are drawing viewers. And competition reality has also seen its fair-share of programming successes.


Off-Network sitcoms and premium cable series.


The network does not accept any unsolicited material.  You must be represented by an agent, attorney or production company.  There are two programming divisions that accept submissions both on the east coast and the west coast offices.  There is no e-mail submission process.


BET has shown a willingness to invest in homemade comedies and dramas, turning away from the low-cost high-margin music videos and amateur comedians of the past. BET has tried to upgrade original programming that they can own and repurpose across platforms. The network continues to explore new programming genres, with some hits and a lot of misses, as it searches for those successful franchises.


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