Creator / BET

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BET (Black Entertainment Television) is a Viacom-owned cable network based in Washington, D.C.. It was one of the first channels to specialize in programming for African-Americans. The network was launched on January 25, 1980, by its founder, Robert L. Johnson. For years it primarily showcased music videos by black artists (with a strong leaning towards hip-hop and pop-R&B), public interest programs such as Teen Summit, and even a nightly news broadcast.

Viacom acquired BET in 2001. In the same year, it hosted the inaugural BET Awards, to honor black contributions to the media and sports. However, since Viacom's acquisition, BET's schedule was reduced to syndicated reruns, B-movies, and reality shows. 106 & Park, its flagship music program, ended its run in 2014; banishing music videos to BET's spinoff channels. In addition, many black leaders, such as Bill Cosby, have accused BET of promoting black stereotypes and corrupting the youth, and because of this, the network now censors music videos with inappropriate content.

On the upside, BET does air a few notable first-run shows such as The Game (following its Channel Hop from The CW, becoming BET's biggest show in the process), Real Husbands of Hollywood, and drama series Being Mary Jane. The ratings success of The Game inspired BET's current push towards more scripted fare.

On Sundays, BET shows gospel-oriented programming under the BET Rejoices branding (previously BET Inspiration). In 2008, it established The BET Honors to honor the lives of important black figures. Other tentpole events seen on the network include: BET Hip Hop Awards (since 2006), Black Girls Rock! (since 2010), and the Celebration of Gospel (since 2001).

The network has gone on to spawn a number of spinoffs.
  • BET Her - A general entertainment network targeting African-American women, launched in 2017. Originally launched in 1996 as BET on Jazz (focused on R&B and jazz music); then later as relaunched as Centric (focused on general programming for adult African-Americans).
  • BET Hip-Hop - A network that airs Hip-Hop related programming, launched in 2007.
  • BET Gospel - A network dedicated to Gospel-related programming, launched in 2007.
  • BET Jams - Originally launched as a spinoff of MTV, airing Urban-genre music videos. On October 5, 2015, the network re-aligned itself under the BET brand.
  • BET Soul - Originally a spinoff of VH1, devoted to soul, R&B and funk music. The network changed its name on December 28, 2015.

Notable Original Shows

  • 106 & Park: Named for the original location of the studio in Harlem (at the intersection of 106th St. and Park Avenue). It was BET's longtime flagship program. (2000-2014)
  • Being Mary Jane (BET's first scripted drama, created by Mara Brock Akil and starring Gabrielle Union; 2013-present)
  • Black Panther (Based on the Marvel Comics character)
  • Bobby Jones Gospel (1980-2016)
  • ComicView (1992-2008, 2014)
  • Hey Monie (BET's first animated series; 2003)
  • Let's Stay Together (BET's first original live-action comedy; 2011-2014)
  • Lift Every Voice (since 1999)
  • The Mo'Nique Show (Talk show; 2009-2011)
  • Punk'd (The 2015 Reboot, hosted by King Bach and DeStorm Power)
  • Rap City (before The Basement was added; 1989-2008 overall)
  • Real Husbands of Hollywood
  • Rebel (Police drama; premiered March 28, 2017)
  • Reed Between The Lines (Premiered in 2011 on BET, was followed by an eight-episode second season on Centric in 2015)
  • Sunday Best (Gospel music competition; 2007-2015)
  • Teen Summit (1989-2002)
  • The Game (from 2011-2015; previously on The CW)
  • The Quad (2017-present)

Notable Syndicated shows:


Alternative Title(s): Black Entertainment Television

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