Network makeover unveils stale entertainment

In November 2000, media conglomerate Viacom Inc. acquired Black Entertainment Television for $2.3 billion. Since then, BET has benefited from increased popularity, but the quality of programming has suffered severely.

BET was a much better network when it was home to unique and original shows like “Teen Summit.” Thank God “Rap City” is still on.

Now, BET’s level of originality is extremely low, and most shows appear as the Black knock-off versions of already popular MTV shows.

“How I’m Living” is obviously a cheap imitation of “MTV Cribs,” and usually features less well known artists and celebrities. “106 & Park” is simply the BET version of MTV’s “Total Request Live.” And the new show “College Hill” seems like an inexpensively produced version of “The Real World.”

When watching some commercials on BET, I noticed that they seemed to be tailored to common stereotypes about the black community.

During almost every commercial break, some sort of debt consolidation or credit card advertisement is blared at the viewer.

My final problem with BET is the decline of talent on possibly their best show, “Comicview.”

Recently, “Comicview” seems to have been rendered to a modern day minstrel show, as opposed to a clever and witty comedy showcase. Lately, the comedians have become increasingly predictable and cliché.

The jokes seem to be made with the goal to make white people laugh, as opposed to just being generally funny. On any given episode, I am reminded of the “funny” differences between black people and white people.

BET is a station that somewhat represents the black community because it is the most successful all-black entertainment network.

Therefore, the things seen on BET should be filtered so that they represent our communities in a positive light.

For BET, ratings might be gaining momentum, but the network’s integrity, originality and credibility are all at stake. Some serious changes need to be made.

The programmers at BET should work on getting new writers and creative thinkers in order to produce more interesting and innovative material.

Jeff Wright is a freshman business administration student from Chicago. He is an assistant opinions editor for The Famuan. Contact him at