Black Entertainment Television

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BET
Black Entertainment Television
BET logo
BET logo
LaunchedJanuary 25, 1980
Owned byBET Networks (Viacom)
Picture format480i (SDTV)
1080i (HDTV)
SloganWe Got You.
CountryUnited States
HeadquartersWashington, D.C.
Sister channel(s)BET Gospel
BET Hip-Hop
Centric
WebsiteBET.com
Availability
Satellite
Bell TV (Canada)Channel 576
DirecTVChannel 329 (SD/HD)
Channel 1329 (VOD)
Dish NetworkChannel 124 (SD/HD)
Shaw Direct (Canada)Channel 582
Cable
Verizon FiOSChannel 270 (SD) 770 (HD)
AT&T U-verseChannel 155 (SD) 1155 (HD)
OptimumChannel 54
XfinityChannel 59 (SD) 1361 (HD)
Available on most other cable systems
IPTV
Bell Fibe TV (Canada)Channel 576
 
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BET
Black Entertainment Television
BET logo
BET logo
LaunchedJanuary 25, 1980
Owned byBET Networks (Viacom)
Picture format480i (SDTV)
1080i (HDTV)
SloganWe Got You.
CountryUnited States
HeadquartersWashington, D.C.
Sister channel(s)BET Gospel
BET Hip-Hop
Centric
WebsiteBET.com
Availability
Satellite
Bell TV (Canada)Channel 576
DirecTVChannel 329 (SD/HD)
Channel 1329 (VOD)
Dish NetworkChannel 124 (SD/HD)
Shaw Direct (Canada)Channel 582
Cable
Verizon FiOSChannel 270 (SD) 770 (HD)
AT&T U-verseChannel 155 (SD) 1155 (HD)
OptimumChannel 54
XfinityChannel 59 (SD) 1361 (HD)
Available on most other cable systems
IPTV
Bell Fibe TV (Canada)Channel 576

Black Entertainment Television (BET, part of BET Networks) is an American, Viacom-owned cable network based in Washington, D.C.. Currently reaching more than 90 million households,[1] it is the most prominent television network targeting African American audiences. The network was launched on January 25, 1980, by its founder, Robert L. Johnson. Programming of the network comprises mainstream music and movies and television series.

Contents

History

After stepping down as a lobbyist for the cable industry, Freeport, Illinois, native Robert L. Johnson decided to launch his own cable television network. Johnson would soon acquire a loan for $15,000, and earned a $500,000 investment from John Malone to start the network.[2] BET began broadcasting on January 25, 1980.[3] Initially broadcasting for two hours a week as a block of programming on the Nickelodeon (it wouldn't be until 1983 that BET became a full fledged channel), the network lineup consisted of music videos and reruns of popular black sitcoms.[2]

BET launched a news program, BET News, in 1988, with Ed Gordon as the anchor. Gordon would later host other programs and specials on BET, such as Black Men Speak Out: The Aftermath, related to the 1992 Los Angeles riots and a recurring interview show Conversations with Ed Gordon.[4] In 1996, the talk show BET Tonight debuted with Tavis Smiley as host; in 2001, Ed Gordon replaced Tavis Smiley. In 2002, as part of a reorganization focusing on entertainment productions,

In 1991, the network became the first black-controlled company on the New York Stock Exchange.[2] In 2003, the network was no longer a black owned business when it was bought by media conglomerate Viacom for $3 billion. In 2005, Johnson retired from the network, turning over his titles as President and Chief Executive Officer to Debra L. Lee, a former Vice President.

In 2007, the network expanded into other BET-related digital cable networks: Centric, BET Hip-Hop, and BET Gospel. Centric (formerly BET on Jazz, BET Jazz and BET J) is a spin-off cable television channel of BET (Black Entertainment Television), created originally to showcase jazz music-related programming, especially that of black jazz musicians. It is now a general interest channel geared towards African-American adults. Centric is available in 28 million homes on DirecTV, Dish Network, Verizon FiOS, AT&T U-verse, Time Warner Cable and many other digital cable providers as part of the MTV Digital Suite. The channel is additionally an associate member of the Caribbean Cable Cooperative. BET also launched a batch of original programming, including reality shows Baldwin Hills and Hell Date, competition show Sunday Best, and town hall-style discussion show Hip Hop vs. America.[5]

Criticism

Public Enemy rapper Chuck D,[6] journalist George Curry,[7] writer Keith Boykin,[8] comic book creator Christopher Priest,[9] filmmaker Spike Lee,[10] Syracuse University professor of finance Dr. Boyce Watkins[11] and cartoonist Aaron McGruder (who, in addition to numerous critical references throughout his series, The Boondocks, made a particular episode criticizing the channel), all have protested BET's programming and actions. As a result, BET heavily censors suggestive content from the videos that it airs, often with entire verses and scenes removed from certain rap videos.[12][13] Furthermore, scholars within the black community maintain that BET perpetuates and justifies racism by affecting the interpersonal beliefs others may generalize about blacks, and also by affecting the psyche of its young viewers through its bombardment of negative images of blacks.[14]

Following the death of civil rights leader Coretta Scott King in 2006, BET broadcast its regularly scheduled music video programming rather than cover King's funeral live as CNN, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, and BET competitors TV One and Black Family Channel were. The BET website streamed the funeral live; BET broadcast taped, 60-second reports periodically from the funeral by senior news correspondent Andre Showell. Michael Lewellen, BET's senior vice president for corporate communications, defended the decision: "We weighed a number of different options. In the end, we chose to offer a different kind of experience for BET viewers." Lewellen also said that BET received around "two dozen" phone calls and "a handful" of emails criticizing BET for not showing the King funeral live.[15] On the evening of the funeral day (February 7, 2006), BET broadcast tribute special Coretta Scott King: Married to the Mission and repeated it the following Sunday, February 12.[16] Showell hosted a program featuring highlights of the funeral, Coretta Scott King: Celebrating Her Spirit, that broadcast that same day.[17] In its 2007 convention, the National Association of Black Journalists gave BET its Thumbs Down Award for not broadcasting King's funeral live.[18]

In 2007, the network expanded into other BET-related digital cable networks: Centric, BET Hip-Hop, and BET Gospel. BET also launched a batch of original programming, including reality shows Baldwin Hills and Hell Date, competition show Sunday Best, and town hall-style discussion show Hip Hop vs. America.[5] BET Network President of Entertainment, Reginald Hudlin resigned on September 11, 2008. He was then replaced by Stephen Hill, who is also Executive Vice President of Music Programming and Talent.[19]

The New York Times reported that the Reverend Delman L. Coates and his organization Enough is Enough led protests every weekend outside the residences of BET executives against what they claim are negative stereotypes of black people perpetuated by BET music videos.[12] Enough is Enough backed an April 2008 report titled The Rap on Rap by the Parents Television Council that claimed that BET rap programming, which they believed contained gratuitous sexual, violent, and profane content, was targeting children and teens.[20]

BET announced in March 2010 that Gordon would return to the network to host "a variety of news programs and specials."[21]

In a 2010 interview, BET co-founder Sheila Johnson said she herself is "ashamed" of what the network has become. “I don’t watch it. I suggest to my kids that they don't watch it," she said. “When we started BET, it was going to be the Ebony magazine on television. We had public affairs programming. We had news... I had a show called Teen Summit, we had a large variety of programming, but the problem is that then the video revolution started up... And then something started happening, and I didn't like it at all. And I remember during those days we would sit up and watch these videos and decide which ones were going on and which ones were not. We got a lot of backlash from recording artists...and we had to start showing them. I didn’t like the way women were being portrayed in these videos.”[22]

BET original programs

Its programming began with a wide scope of comedy, music, public affairs, and news programming: ComicView; Video Soul with Donnie Simpson, Video Vibrations, Softones, Screen Scene, Unreal/Planet Groove/Caribbean Rhythms, Jam Zone/Cita's World; Teen Summit; and BET News with Ed Gordon, Lead Story, BET Tonight with Tavis Smiley,BET Nightly News, and Don't Sleep, with T.J. Holmes.

Its urban music programming show 106 & Park debuted in September 2000. Taped before a live audience, the hosts count down the top 10 videos requested by viewers and inviting rap and R&B artists to promote their music. On Sunday mornings, BET broadcasts a lineup of network-produced Christian programming and gospel music.

BET Walk of Fame Awards

The BET Walk of Fame Awards were established in 1995 by BET. In 2004, proceeds was shared between United Negro College Fund (UNCF) and the BET Foundation, which executes the Healthy BET obesity-awareness campaign and other pro-social causes. The annual charitable black-tie affair has generated over $2.5 million dollars since 1995.[23][24]

Walk of Fame honorees

Note: The awards ceremony were televised on BET's network from 2000 - 2004

BET Awards

The BET Awards were established in 2001 by the Black Entertainment Television network to celebrate African Americans and other minorities in music, acting, sports, and other fields of entertainment over the past year. The awards are presented annually and broadcast live on BET. BET commissioned Artist/Sculptor and Hip-Hop culture icon Carlos Mare139 Rodriguez to design the Award sculpture. Global promotion is provided by Kroszover Entertainment.

BET Honors

The BET Honors were established in 2008 by the Black Entertainment Television network to grace the lives and achievements of African-American luminaries. The awards are presented annually and broadcast on BET during Black History Month.

International

BET International

BET UK first transmitted on Videotron (now known as Virgin Media) and several other cable networks from 1993 up until 1996.[29]

In May 2007 by Ofcom, BET International Inc was given a license to re-broadcast in the United Kingdom. BET International is the first international version of the channel and is available in Europe, Africa and the Middle East through satellite providers.

BET is available on Sky channel 191 after launching on Wednesday February 27, 2008 and on Freesat channel 140 after launching on August 8, 2008. BET+1 is also available on Sky channel 198 and Freesat channel 141, and is Free-to-air. BET International shows a mix of content from the main BET channel and locally produced shows. An exclusive HD version of the channel was made to show the BET Awards 2009 on Freesat EPG 142

BET is additionally an associate member of the Caribbean Cable Cooperative.[30]

Canada

BET became available in Canada in October 1997 on most cable and satellite carriers. The Canadian feed is the same as the American feed, though sitcoms and films with rights belonging to other parties in Canada are replaced with a block of music videos without a BET logo appearing on-screen.

BET Interactive

In 2006, BET Interactive, LLC became a subsidiary of BET.[31] BET also has a digital group including BET.com, BET on Blast, BET on Demand and BET mobile.[32]

See also

References

  1. ^ "BET Networks". Viacom. http://www.viacom.com/ourbrands/medianetworks/betnetworks/pages/default.aspx. Retrieved September 6, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c Johnson, Robert; Dumaine, Brian (2002-10-01). "The Market Nobody Wanted". Fortune Small Business. http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fsb/fsb_archive/2002/10/01/330571/index.htm. Retrieved 2008-09-08. 
  3. ^ "Corporate Fact Sheet". BET Networks. Archived from the original on August 29, 2007. http://www.webcitation.org/6AUPSeQPh. Retrieved 2008-09-12. 
  4. ^ Johnson, Anne Janette (1996). "Gordon, Ed 1960—". Contemporary Black Biography. http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-2871200026.html. Retrieved July 2, 2010. 
  5. ^ a b Deggans, Eric (July 24, 2007). "BET diversifies with confidence". St. Petersburg Times. http://www.sptimes.com/2007/07/24/Tv/BET_diversifies_with_.shtml. Retrieved December 30, 2010. 
  6. ^ "BET 2001 ; THE FISHTANK OF FOOLS". publicenemy.com. 2001-03-30. http://www.publicenemy.com/index.php?page=page3&item=31. Retrieved 2008-02-05. 
  7. ^ "Viacom's BET Turns into ET". georgecurry.com. 2002-12-10. http://www.georgecurry.com/columns/viacoms-bet-turns-into-et. Retrieved 2008-02-05. 
  8. ^ Keith Boykin (2002-12-18). "All Hail Bob Johnson". http://www.keithboykin.com/arch/000539.html. Retrieved 2008-02-05. 
  9. ^ Christopher J. Priest (2001-02). "the ostracized negro". http://phonogram.us/viewpoint/ostracized.htm. Retrieved 2008-02-05. 
  10. ^ August 3, 2011 12:03 PM ET. "Zap2it - TV news - Spike Lee Dismisses BET". Tv.zap2it.com. http://tv.zap2it.com/tveditorial/tve_main/1,1002,271%7C79963%7C1%7C,00.html. Retrieved 2011-08-05. 
  11. ^ Watkins, Boyce (2010-06-28). "Why there should be a black backlash against BET". theGrio. http://www.thegrio.com/entertainment/why-there-should-be-a-black-backlash-against-bet.php. 
  12. ^ a b Lee, Felicia R. (2007-11-05). "Protesting Demeaning Images in Media". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/05/arts/05enou.html. 
  13. ^ Eggerton, John (2008-04-09). "PTC, Enough Is Enough Campaign Take on MTV, BET". Broadcasting & Cable. http://www.broadcastingcable.com/article/CA6549701.html. 
  14. ^ Adams, Jonathan (June 11, 2008). "BET vs. Boondocks". Colorlines. http://www.racewire.org/archives/2008/06/bet_vs_boondocks.html. Retrieved December 30, 2010. 
  15. ^ Shister, Gail (February 9, 2006). "BET leaves pack on King funeral -- it sticks with scheduled program". The Buffalo News. http://findarticles.com/p/news-articles/buffalo-news/mi_8030/is_20060209/bet-leaves-pack-king-funeral/ai_n42906812/. Retrieved December 30, 2010. 
  16. ^ "BET, BET.com Present Special Telecast, On-Line Coverage Honoring Life of Coretta Scott King" (Press release). BET. February 6, 2006. http://bet.mediaroom.com/index.php?s=43&item=364. 
  17. ^ "BET Celebration of Coretta Scott King Continues Sunday With Three Hours of Tributes, Special Moments" (Press release). February 9, 2006. http://bet.mediaroom.com/index.php?s=43&item=437. 
  18. ^ Williams, Juan (August 10, 2007). "'BET' Gets Thumbs Down Award From Journalists". Morning Edition. National Public Radio. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=12668674. Retrieved December 30, 2010. 
  19. ^ Wiltz, Teresa; Farhi, Paul (2008-09-12). "BET President Resigns". The Washington Post: p. C7. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/09/11/AR2008091103380.html. Retrieved 2008-09-12. 
  20. ^ Moss, Linda; Umstead, R. Thomas (2008-04-10). "PTC Puts A Bad 'Rap' On BET, MTV". Multichannel News. http://www.multichannel.com/article/CA6550323.html. Retrieved 2008-07-27. 
  21. ^ Bland, Bridget (March 8, 2010). "Ed Gordon: Returning to BET News". Black Voices. AOL. http://www.bvnewswire.com/2010/03/08/ed-gordon-returning-to-bet-news/. Retrieved July 2, 2010. 
  22. ^ Grove, Lloyd (2010-04-29). "Sheila Johnson Slams BET". The Daily Beast. http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2010-04-29/sheila-johnsons-fight-against-hiv-in-dc/. Retrieved 2010-05-22. 
  23. ^ BET Walk of Fame ceremony.www.betpressroom.com
  24. ^ BET Walk of Fame salutes Smokey Robinson.www.thefreelibrary.com
  25. ^ Whitney Houston honored at 1996 BET Walk of Fame ceremony.www.blackdiamondcinema.com
  26. ^ BET Walk of Fame honoring Patti Labelle.BETpressroom.com
  27. ^ BET salutes Stevie Wonder.www.prnewswire.com
  28. ^ Smokey Robinson honored.
  29. ^ "Black Entertainment Television (Bet) Uk Launch – What Happened??? « Www.Madnews.Biz". Madnews.wordpress.com. 2007-12-30. http://madnews.wordpress.com/2007/12/30/hello-world. Retrieved 2011-08-05. 
  30. ^ "Member channels of the Caribbean Cable Cooperative". Cctvcoop.com. http://www.cctvcoop.com/listChannels.aspx. Retrieved 2011-08-05. 
  31. ^ "Companies: BET Interactive". LinkedIn. http://www.linkedin.com/company/bet-interactive. Retrieved 2011-07-26. 
  32. ^ "Companies: BET Networks Media Room". BET. http://bet.mediaroom.com/index.php?s=57. Retrieved 2011-07-26. 

Further reading

External links