When Robert L. Johnson founded Black Entertainment Television in 1980, black Americans everywhere were floored. Finally, a network that black people could relate to. No one would have ever guessed that it would grow into what it is today.
Today, 89 million households tune in daily to BET.
Over the course of 30 years BET transitioned from programs like Video Soul with Donnie Simpson a.k.a Dr. Green Eyes to Rap City with Big Tigger. The network has tapped into the reality show market with shows like Keyshia Cole’s The Way It Is and the Tiny and Toya show.
Through the decades BET has gone through a variety of programming stints. Shows like Hell Date and College Hill are so off the wall viewers question their validity.
Please do not think for one second that these are complaints on how the old BET functioned. On the other hand, we must realize that there was a dyer need for well-rounded African Americans in media. The rump-shaking, gangbanging, slightly exaggerated drama is cool, but we need more substance, and now we seem to be getting it.
2010 is a year of extreme improvements for the network. BET is launching Centric, a new channel complementing the current programming. The new spin off network will shed a bit of nostalgic light, catering to older demographic of black people.
Popular black shows like Soul Train will be bought back to life and other black shows will be back in syndication.
Not only will BET once again be a music channel, but it will also bring back programming covering public affairs and news led by Senior Vice President Keith Brown.
The network is also rolling out new talk shows, something it has not done in almost ten years. Comedienne/actress Mo’nique landed her own talk show during the 11 p.m. slot, the only black woman to do so. Some may hate to love Mo’Nique, but the majority loves her.
In its first week, the Monique Show had the highest number of late night viewers. The Mo’Nique Show is giving BET its new twist.
Viewers can expect an exciting lineup with new show like; First In is the first reality docu-drama on BET. The show pulls audiences into the real life heroics of emergency response teams in Compton, CA. Monica: Still Standing gives us insight on the reality of being a celebrity but also shows her real life problems going through everyday situations.
Of course BET classics like 106th & Park, BET Awards, BET Honors and Celebration of Gospel are still in the line up, but improvement was needed and it has finally arrived.