Will BET Change

Now that Reginald Hudlin, who directed "The Bernie Mac Show" and "Everybody Hates Chris" is the president. He stated that he was brought on board to create more original programming. Currently, the network's programming boils down to rehashing the same 20 videos on nine different video shows with reruns of black sitcoms and low budget reality shows sprinkled about in an attempt to pretend that they are on the same level as MTV and VH1.

I have long given up on BET. There was a time when the network was worth something. "Our Voices", "Lead Story", "Teen Summit", "The Tavis Smiley Show" and even "106 & Park" were worth watching. I'm not sure what happened, but they soon began to cater to the lowest common denominator and eliminated quality programming for a continuous run of videos and "get rich quick" infomercial.

To be fair, I believe Bob Johnson was always looking for BET to become the black version of MTV. It was the black viewers that had higher expectations for the network. Many of us were looking for a vehicle to cultivate the images of black people in way that didn't interest mainstream media. We looked to BET to provide news coverage on events overlooked by major cable news channels. We expected BET to provide a platform for black intellectual discourse and be a stepping stone for rising young talent. The major networks never warmed to the idea of a drama focusing on black families - BET was to lead the way in that genre. It never came to pass.

BET became a dumping ground for misogynist's videos and celebrating materialism and self-absorbed ego-maniacs. What we had to learn is that BET wasn't OUR network, it was Bob Johnson's and he was driven by capitalism. I can't begrudge him for that. He became a billionaire and the first black owner of an NBA franchise. Why should we be mad at that? Maybe the only thing we could say is that BET has the potential to be more than what it is but Bob Johnson wasn't the man to make it so.

Now we have Reginald Hudlin at the helm and just maybe things will change. Just based on his creative style with directing Bernie Mac Show and Everybody Hates Chris, maybe a higher level of creativity will find a home at BET. It can't get much worse... at least I don't think it could.

Topic Starters:

1. What is the best show BET every created? (I vote for Teen Summit)
2. Is it wrong to expect more from BET than what the mainstream expect from MTV?
3. If you were president of BET, what would be the first change made?


15 Responses to Will BET Change

  1. Malik Says:
    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
  2. Malik Says:
    1. The Tavis Smiley Show without a doubt.

    2. MTV and BET are the same channels for all intents and purposes. Viacom owns MTV, BET and VH1 as well as CBS, Paramount, Blockbuster, and whole host of other major media properties that I can't think of off the top of my head. Five companies--Time-Warner, Viacom, Sony, Disney, and News Corp--control 90% of our print, broadcast and entertainment media.

    3. You couldn't pay me enough to work for Agent Smith.
  3. nikki Says:
    1. tavis smiley show

    2. hell yeah he's more responsible. "with great power comes great responsibility..."

    doesn't ANYBODY listen to uncle ben anymore???

    3. i'd get rid of 80% of their original programming, which is basically video shows.
  4. chance Says:
    To Jay (James)

    Chance: you are right and I remember robert Johnson in an interview saying that the reason who puts more videos on is because that's what most of the views (Black) want.

    And, he is correct but I hope that BET moves toward becoming intellectually inclined and change it's line up.

    I feel that black people are ready for the intellectual side of BET to manifest.

    By Chance
  5. Tif Says:
    I look at BET like I look at crack. A young entrepeneur tries to sell his people incents and oils on the streets and gains no substantial means. He begins to sell crack to his people-- why-- because someone is going to sell it to them anyway. Unless Reginald Hudlin is really ready to lose the network some serious cash in favor of quality programming-- BET will not change. Uncut makes money in a time slot where every network in the nation can't make money. If drastic changes at BET occur a competitor NET (you know what the N is for) will pop up and run BET straight out of business.

    I was on a hip hop panel and a BET exec said she was making changes in music video rules whereas you could not just show a woman's body part (ass)without showing her face. Kudos to you miss "make a change". My point is this is the level of "change" that will occur. Reginald Hudlin may sell some oils and incents and things our people need (quality programming) but his bread and butter will always be the crack.
  6. James Manning Says:
    Nice post tif and welcome. I think you are correct and I do wonder if we are asking BET to do something that other like networks are not. I think I'm come to the conclusion that black people will have to develop more that one network if we want to see more than videos.
  7. Dell Gines Says:
    Ok, let me answer the question this way.

    From a pure capitalistic perspective, no it is not wrong for him to make a 'black MTV' if that was clearly his intention and he said that was what he was trying to do.

    From a pro-community black man perspective, I simply have a problem with people putting money ahead of social responsibility, particularly blacks with a power medium for change such as TV. So I look upon BET the same way I look upon modern hip hop, as an extention of death via entertainment.

    Viacom owns them now, so I am sure they are trying to figure out a way to make them more MTV'ish.

    Tavis Smiley had a good show.
  8. BossMack Says:
    BET has turned us all into noctambulists. Lets keep it real, the number one show BET ever created is:

    1. Rap City

    Why? Rap City is like hypnosis on Niggas throughout the entire United States. I believe if you sit at home, broke, and watch Rap City you could snap. All you see on there is shit you can't have, and most of tha Muthafukkas in tha videos don't even have tha shit they flossin' themselves.

    2. 106 & Park Why? it's tha fucking same Rap City.

    3. All of tha Comedy Shows Why? Cause when you laugh all tha time, you don't have time to think.

    These three must be considered the most brilliant achievements of BET, These three generated billions of dollarsfor Robert & his Ex-Bitch. Sure the Tavis Smiley show was clearly the best progam and very informative, but thats bullshit, thats not $$$$$$, feel?

    I got big love for Tavis Smiley tho.
  9. SRH Says:
    Sorry, I am woefully too white to enter into this dicussion, but I am enjoying it.
  10. Micki Says:
    Thanks for visiting my blog James. I really like yours.

    TeenSummit was the best show that BET ever put on, but I can't hate on the first couple of seasons of ComicView.

    B.E.T. a.k.a. Black Entertainment Television a.k.a. Video Hoes in No Clothes. I've taken offense to the channel that named itself the entire representation of *black entertainment* can't be bothered to generate original programming.
    I doubt if it'll ever change, and even if it does, its too late.

    Let's all go watch some reruns of Good Times on TVOne.
  11. Rell Says:
    if i was president of the network, i'd simply fire every single person associated with it, cancel all the programming and start from scratch.
  12. Mr. Grey Ghost Says:
    I've been a longtime BET watcher so I'd have to say that "Rap City" was its best show esp. when Joe Claire (did I get that right?), Big Lez and then Big Tigga hosted.

    If I was BET I would just try to establish my own identity without just copying MTV (and remember MTV was supposed to just be a music video network). BET should just start from stratch, hire good/talented writers with creative experience, appeal more to other minorities, be more political (even if its just leftist-leaning filler) and make a relationship with its audience like "106 & Park" did (BTW, firing AJ and Free was a huge mistake!),

    Do I expect more from BET? Of course I do, but then again I'm a conservative so my thinking kind of falls in line with how I expect more from Black people.
  13. Cynthia Says:
    I don't like BET. It could do a lot better than what it is doing. But, I'm against most things when it comes to programming. I try to protect my mind from onslaught.
  14. Naro% Says:
    Some very good points across the board, I think that this is where it starts. People like us thinking in a coporate fashion. In the "business" world People like Margret Wheatley like to akin Chaos to change or at least the edge of chaos. In this area you have the biggest opportunity for change. Right now we are all our own little channels and you could say we are "affiliated". What is lacking is the projection; the system (mass media) is driven by a certain set of parameters (Closed system dynamics) which do not allow for the glorious creation we all would like for BET to come. Am I saying that Bob was an opportunist? No, but i am saying that he leveraged the "concept" for as much as he could get within a particular system, and being the first and only to do so opens up many feelings (especially for black folk... systems theory and culture dont relate in a compassionate way). BET has to be changed by us (black folk) we must become the change agents within our own culture. Not only do black people live within a closed system, we are also every so slightly being subjected to a permanent cultural stasis (neutral negative) which reacts to the parameters set fourth outside of our system (money, power, industry) that when any attempt is made by black people to assimilate (IE. Bob tryin to make a black cable channel) that the efforts of said project are marginalized... Hench some of the stoopidest commercials we ever see are on BET, and who makes commercials, well Malik was correct in mentioning Agent Smith... A device created outside of the system free to act independently and above all of the parameters set forth to make sure you do not break free...
    My favorite BET show well, I must say its a tie between Tavis and Rap city, and I was feeling Ananda Lewis before she "went MTV on a nigga" but then again whats the difference?
  15. Shawn Says:
    1. The Tavist Smiley Show.

    2. BET stands for Black Entertainment Television. I don't think it was ever meant to get to deep. I think they could do much better with original programming. MTV has shows such as True Life, Made, Laguna Beach, Sweet 16, and even Run's House (which would have been awesome for BET). Blacks are really ready to look at themselves in reality TV shows, remember College Hill? It was such an embarrassing mess. I'd rather watch videos than watch us cutting up on TV.

    3. If I was the president of BET I would concentrate on creating quality first run programming including original sitcoms and even reality programming that shows Blacks in a positive light.