Hill was responsible for BET’s music shows and specials including, BET Awards, BET Honors, Black Girls Rock and The Hip Hop Awards. Additionally, he was a member of the team that successfully launched Real Husbands of Hollywood. Prior, Hill served as EVP of Entertainment and Music Programming before being promoted to President. Prior to joining BET Networks, he was the director of Music Programming at MTV, reports Deadline.
“Before joining BET, Hill was the director of music programming at MTV where he selected and programmed videos, worked with talent and oversaw the network’s standards processes,” reports The Hollywood Reporter.
BET has always been a trailblazer and it’s a privilege to be at the helm of programming for a brand that has delivered shows that have, literally, changed the face of television,” Hill said. “We will develop and produce fresh, audience-thrilling programming to complement our strong slate of new original content, returning hits and mega-specials. I look forward to continuing to link arms with our massively talented team as we work together, marching toward BET’s next successes.”

#TBT: The Top Ten BET Shows That Make Us Feel Nostalgic

November 27th, 2014 - By Madame Noire
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From Single Black Male

Shad Moss’s career is essentially over as a host and actor. Well, damn. Today I’m going to take a look at the shows and people over the years that BET either cancelled or lost. All I can say is, “It’s a damn shame what they did to that channel.”

Find out the ten shows or hosts BET got rid of at SingleBlackMale.org

BET Founder Robert Johnson Hopes To Create A Black Netflix With New Urban Movie Channel

November 26th, 2014 - By Charing Ball
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Robert Johnson Hopes To Create A Black Netflix With New Urban Movie Channel

Image Source: Shutterstock.com

Robert L Johnson, founder of BET and RLJ Entertainment, has been planning his entry into digital technology since his days at BET.

In an interview last week, Johnson explained that it had long been his vision to provide African American audiences in particular with targeted programming and entertainment. It was the formation of the cable industry in the 70s and 80s, which not only ushered in a new way we received content (through satellite and cable), but helped to loosen the monopoly both the studios and networks had on its content distribution. This transformation also paved the way for BET to serve a niche audience (I.e Black people) that both the networks and studio ignored or didn’t even believe existed.

Johnson said that this shift is happening again. “And so because I had the knowledge and experience of seeing what happened when cable satellite came about, I recognize that digital was going to transform the media landscape in much of the same way,” he said.

And just like BET, Johnson is hoping his latest venture, the Urban Movie Channel, will again be at the forefront of this new technological transformation of how we receive cultural-centered content. The UMC, which is available at www.urbanmoviechannel.com, is digital subscription video-on-demand (VOD) channel that caters to a largely urban and African American audience.

“You can call it the targeted version of Netflix and I think that is a fair analysis but beyond that, there is both a cultural model and a business model to consider,” he said.

As the name suggests UMC has feature length films including sentimental dramas like All Things Fall Apart and blaxploitation classic like Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song. But there are also live concert music and comedy films like Kevin Hart’s I’m A Grown Little Man, and Welcome To Death Row. And there are also documentaries like Dark Girls and stage play productions like David E. Talbert presents: What Goes Around Comes Around.

Currently, the Urban Movie Channel is up and operational, and as Johnson touts, it can be seen from Newark to Nigeria. In an effort to attract audience, the VOD site is offering free service with membership subscription through February 2015. After that, the plans will start at $4.99 a month, which Johnson notes is significantly lower than what many people pay for subscription to HBO or Showtime on their cable packages.

He also notes that is a solid price for content that Black households have longed pined for. “Basically, this is universal distribution without any gatekeeping,” he said.

In addition to providing on-demand and live streaming market for Black and urban audiences, which rivals the like Netflix or Hulu or Amazon Prime, Johnson said that the UMC provides a great opportunity for Black and urban content creators to not only have access to a platform but tell stories without limitations.

As Johnson points out: Hollywood makes the decisions of the kinds of films that get made and cable channels make decisions about the kind of channels it wants to distribute. Likewise, advertisers, who hold the most control in the current content creation distribution structure, only advertise on programs with compatible values with its brand.

“Using digital platforms or digital media, is a direct way to do it without having to go through lots of gatekeepers, who would either control your access to the consumers, or your audience, or in some way censor or filter it in a way that may not be consistent information you want to give to your consumer,” said Johnson.

The Urban Movie Channel is not RLJ Entertainment’s first foray into digital content distribution. Two years ago, Johnson purchased two companies: Image Entertainment and Acorn Media Group to formed RLJ Entertainment. Through the acquisition, RLJ Entertainment became the holder of licenses to over 160 urban or African American oriented movie titles.

Last year, RLJ Entertainment announced the creation of two other VOD digital channels: OnCueNetwork, which also showed movies, documentaries and other programming targeted to African American and Acorn TV, which exclusively shows British dramas and mysteries.

After a successful test run and partnership with YouTube, OnCue is being phased out to make way for UMC, which will be hosted on its own digital platform. However Acorn TV will still operate separately (and is too still available via YouTube). Unlike Netflix, which still offers DVD rentals, UMC will be strictly be video-on-demand. However Johnson said that he is looking to distribute some of UMC’s content on both DVD and Blu-Ray to other distribution networks like Red Box, Target and Wal-Mart.

In addition to the licenses RLJ Entertainment already holds, Johnson said that the group will be reaching out to the major studios for content. Likewise, UMC will will be looking to partner with the creative community for stories that are “rarely told” by the mainstream film studios and on networks.

“So we will be talking to producers and talent and film financiers and independent production companies to say let’s sit down and help you tell those stories and [let’s talk about] how you can monetize those stories, create value for yourself and create compelling content for the millions of subscribers, who I believe want to see the stories you have to tell,” he said.

Johnson adds that telling those stories has now become much easier in the digital age.“When I was running BET, we were an advertiser supported network. So if I put on a show Proctor of Gamble didn’t like or another advertiser didn’t like, it would be tough to keep that program going,” he said, recounting how advertisers would police content on BET in ways he felt they weren’t doing for other cable networks.

Now, he said, the power is in the hands of Black and urban audience members instead of advertisers, networks and studios. “It’s only the consumers now, who has a say. If they like it, they’ll pay for it and if they don’t, they won’t watch.”

Aspire & Centric To Continue Airing The Cosby Show Reruns

November 22nd, 2014 - By Courtney Whitaker
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Aspire and Centric are not budging…at least not yet. 

The television channels have decided they will continue to air reruns of the Cosby Show. Centric, owned by BET confirmed to EW that they will continue to air reruns of the series. In addition to Centric, Aspire, created by Magic Johnson, will also continue to air The Bill Cosby Show on it’s channel. A spokesperson told EW  “We continue to closely monitor the situation. Currently the show is still running.” 

Both channels reach a total of 72 million homes and target black viewers. 

Bill Cosby, the main character of The Cosby Show and The Bill Cosby show has been in the headlines of every newspaper for weeks now. Nine women have accused him of drugging and raping them. Janice Dickinson is among the women accusing him of misusing their trust and assaulting them. 

Tvland, Netflix and NBC have all pulled programming related to Cosby. 

Watch The Trailer For “The Book Of Negroes” A 6 Part Miniseries Coming To BET

October 13th, 2014 - By Veronica Wells
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The Book Of Negroes

Source: Entertainment One

I’m sure some of you clicked on this post just to complain about the title of this new series. “The Book of Negroes” is certainly eye-brow raising. And while I personally don’t have a problem with it, you wouldn’t be the first person to have an aversion to it. But before we get into that, let’s talk about the content first, shall we?

“The Book of Negroes” is based on Lawrence Hill’s novel of the same name. The story is about Aminata Diallo, played by Aunjanue Ellis, an African woman kidnapped by slave traders in West Africa and sold into slavery in South Carolina. Somehow she manages to navigate her way through the American Revolution where she secures her freedom and travels to England to fight for the British army.

The story is certainly intriguing. Clement Virgo, director of the six part miniseries, found the same thing. Initially, even Virgo had an aversion to the title. But after reading it, he said “He couldn’t imagine the novel being called anything else.”

Which is why he chose to use it for the miniseries. And not just to provoke or disturb. Instead the title refers to a book of genealogy kept by the British Navy on the slaves who left their captors to serve with the red coats in the Revolutionary War. It documented each former slave’s country of origin. And when the British lost, they honored their promise to free the African soldiers after the war.

Initially in 2010, Virgo tried to turn the story into a feature length film but distributors didn’t think audiences would take to it. It was Canadian broadcasters who saw it as a miniseries and decided to make it. And after BET aired Roots for the first time, attracting 4 million viewers, distributors knew it would do well with American audiences too. It also didn’t hurt that 12 Years A Slave took home the Oscar for best picture last year.

Now, “The Book of Negroes” will air in six parts on BET in February, presumably for Black History Month.

And while this is another slave story, Cuba Gooding Jr., who plays Samuel Fraunces, in the miniseries, says it’s unlike anything we’ve ever seen.

“It’s told from a female perspective with a sense of empowerment. Through Aminata’s journey we see the strength of her character. I didn’t know anything about The Book of Negroes, or the slaves participation with the British and upon hearing this–it always upsets me when I hear about something I didn’t know: Like The Tuskegee Airmen, The Book Of Negroes is another upsetting moment for African Americans, when we have made a positive impact on the building of America, but our history hasn’t been told. Hearing this tale of strength moved me.”

I feel that.

Plus, the trailer makes it look absolutely amazing. Take a look below and kudos to BET for getting behind such a much-needed project.

Bye, Bye Sabers: BET’s ‘The Game’ To End After Nine Seasons

October 7th, 2014 - By Jazmine Denise Rogers
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Source: WENN

Source: WENN

On Monday, BET announced that season nine will be the final season of their popular dramedy “The Game.” According to the network, production for seasons eight and nine are currently underway.

“All good things must come to an end and after celebrating four successful seasons of THE GAME on BET, the Network has announced production is underway on the show’s final two seasons. In January 2011 the cult following of The Game proved that the show was a fan favorite with 7.7 million viewers for its premiere debut on BET. With seasons eight and nine, we’re excited to end on a high note by giving Sabers fans a chance to bid farewell to their favorite players on and off the field.”

Apparently, the decision to end the series after season nine came from the show’s Executive Producer Mara Brock Akil.

“Shows do end,” Mara told BET. “That is a part the business. I’m very happy BET gave The Game five additional seasons to explore these characters and this world. We made history when we got to the network and it’s nice to be able to celebrate the great achievements of the show.”

When asked if there are any storylines that she wishes she would have changed, Mara had this to say:

“No, I don’t live in that place. I don’t regret anything that we’ve done.”

I was a pretty big fan of “The Game,” so the fact that the show will be able to have a finale and wasn’t just snatched off of the air makes me happy. Hopefully, Melanie and Derwin will return or at least make a few cameos for the final season, which is set to air in 2015.

Are you sad to hear that an end date has been set for “The Game?”

Where Are They Now: The Cast Of College Hill Part 2

September 30th, 2014 - By Kendra Koger
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Let me just say:  WOW!  I’ve been doing these “Where Are They Now”s for a minute, and I wasn’t expecting the reaction from the first part of  the”College Hill” article.  But when I asked:  “Tell me which ones you wanted to see for part 2 in the comment section,” you all did not fail to deliver.

So, my gift to you, is the second part, including Virginia State University cast, South Beach cast, and Atlanta cast.  Now if I included everyone that you all asked for, this article would be 19 pages and I know how you all feel about the multiple pages.  So, I’m going to focus on the most requested, and the ones that I could find the most information on.

I hope I make you all happy, let’s get it started with:

Remember Peaches From “College Hill”? Find Out What She’s Up To Now

September 24th, 2014 - By Veronica Wells
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remember peaches from "college hill"

Courtesy of: Alva Francois

A couple of weeks ago, Kendra Koger wrote a “Where Are They Now” article about the cast members of one of BET’s first reality shows, “College Hill.” It was no easy task. Many of the cast members went on to live very normal lives, disappearing from the public eye. Well, one of the more memorable cast members from season 2, Peaches Jasper, saw the article and reached out to let us know the real deal about her and her castmates. We had a chance to speak to Peaches Jasper, whose real name is Alva, the former senior biology major at Langston University, about her experience on “College Hill” and what she’s been up to since she left the show and graduated.


Why did you decide to participate in College Hill?

Somebody actually asked me to do it. They were having auditions and somebody thought I would be a good person to be on there.


What was one of your favorite memories from filming?

I don’t know if they showed it or not. We had a party. I know they showed the party. But one of my friends, that I invited, she got real, real drunk and was throwing up all over the place.That was funny. She got really sick and I was telling her ‘Stop drinking, stop drinking.’ We had to take her home.


A lot of people felt this was a negative portrayal of HBCUs and Black students. Do you agree or were people being a little too conservative?

I think it was people being conservative. Especially Oklahoma. Oklahoma is a conservative state and that’s where we were filmed. I actually think because reality was just now coming over to the Black community. Even if you look at “Basketball Wives” and “Love and Hip Hop,” it’s still causing the same type of uproar that “College Hill” did. We know that reality always edits the worst things to get ratings. I believe they really just went off their first impression because they hadn’t seen anything like that.

And of course the southern people, especially the people that fought so hard for us to get an education, that built these Black schools and support these Black schools. I think they were trying to say let’s not put a representation of ‘this is what Black kids do.’ That’s where our money is going to? So I can kind of understand where they were coming from, they just didn’t know what was going on. And I kind of got mad at “College Hill” because they didn’t show the good and the bad, they just showed the bad.

remember peaches from "college hill"

Courtesy of: Alva Francois


Do people still recognize you?

Girl. People say ‘I know you.’ And I’m like ‘No, you don’t.” And so I use my real name because Peaches is very familiar. I used to live in Florida and people started showing me pictures of when we [the cast members from College Hill] went down there.


What’s a particular moment that people reference when they see you?

Most of them reference about me and Jon, which is not a good thing. Laughs. [You may remember that Peaches and Jon got into a fight.]

 And they showed me dancing on there. When they introduced me, they introduced me from the bottom, going all the way to the top. The small waist, you know, the big butt. Back then, the curvy figure was starting to be in.


What would you say you learned from the experience?

To take advantage of every opportunity that I have.