Comedy, Drama, Late-Night Talk And Specials Reign Supreme As BET Debuts New Fall '04 Lineup Beginning Monday, October 4
SOULFOOD, GIRLFRIENDS, L-BOW ROOM Top List of New Shows; WALK OF FAME Honors Smokey Robinson; 106 & PARK Keeps It Hot
WASHINGTON (September 23, 2004) � BET viewers will find lots to satisfy their appetite for Black Star Power in Fall 2004 as the network launches a new lineup laced with drama, comedy, music, specials and late-night talk along side a list of returning favorites. When the new BET season premieres on Monday, October 4, the critically-acclaimed drama SOUL FOOD joins the network as will the sassy comedy GIRLFRIENDS � both bringing their own unique ingredients to primetime. Late-night talk once again has a home on BET with the premiere of the L-BOW ROOM, a frank, edgy exchange on the issues of the day hosted by actor/singer Leon.
106 & PARK: BET�S TOP 10 LIVE continues to anchor BET�s popular music lineup, with hosts AJ and Free back on their signature couch with the biggest names in entertainment and the hottest music videos. This fifth season of 106 & PARK will also carry special meaning as the most-watched music video show on television surpasses its 1,000th episode milestone. RAP CITY: THA BASSMENT marks an achievement of its own by starting its 15th season as television�s leading destination for hip hop.
Last season�s run-away hit COMING TO THE STAGE, which unwrapped for the world new kid comic Lil JJ, returns for its sophomore season as 40 aspiring comedians battle each week in front of a rowdy audience and panel of celebrity judges. BET favorite Bruce Bruce steps to center stage as host of this comedy reality show. Kim Coles returns as �Queen Diva Judge� to stir the sauce with her fellow celebrities to select the �Next Superstar of Funny.� CLUB COMICVIEW, 13-years strong as BET�s primetime comedy favorite, heats up the laugh machine again this fall with wise-cracking Rickey Smiley as host.
BET�s first mega-special of the new season glides in as smoothly as its 2004 honoree when the 10TH ANNIVERSARY BET WALK OF FAME enshrines the velvety soul crooner Smokey Robinson with a star-studded tribute on October 26 at 9 p.m. ET/PT. And the latest �4-1-1� on what�s happening in the celebrity universe of parties, premieres, fashion and fun gets primetime treatment with the unveiling of BET STYLE, hosted by vivacious BET newcomer Melyssa Ford along side rap impresario Big Tigger.
�The beauty of our new fall lineup is its diversity, from music and specials, to comedy, drama and the creation of a new talk show we�re very excited about,� said BET President and Chief Operating Officer Debra Lee. �Over the years, we�ve built our franchise by investing in programming areas that are attractive to our target demographic. We have now broadened that strategy to include infusions of attractive, interesting programming across a variety of timeslots. What that ultimately means is that the BET lineup has something for everyone.�
New Programming and Specials on BET
BET programming executives approached the new season much like an architect approaches the design of a building � adding some new, creative twists while maintaining the consistent standards that have made the network strong for 24 years. �Each season, it�s our goal to keep programming fresh and exciting,� said Gina Holland, BET Senior Vice President of Production and Programming Operations. �The consistent growth of our audience size and ratings says we�ve built an attractive platform that�s drawing viewers to BET. What�s important now is maintaining that success.�
The following are snapshots of specials and new programming joining the BET lineup for Fall 2004:
� BET STYLE (NEW) � Stay in the know with BET�s weekly look at the hottest of the hot. For the inside scoop on entertainment, music, movies and celebrity style, BET presents an all-new entertainment show hosted by fresh new BET face Melyssa Ford along side the ever debonair Big Tigger of RAP CITY fame. BET STYLE will keep viewers one step ahead of what�s happening in glitz and glamour. Tuesday & Thursday @ 7:30 p.m. ET/PT
� GIRLFRIENDS (NEW) � Entertainment Weekly proclaimed GIRLFRIENDS as �smart and funny� and �the show you should be watching.� This hilarious sitcom joins the weekly BET lineup and explores hot-button issues about family, friends, careers, relationships and life facing contemporary African-American women. Tune in to see what all the talk is about. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday & Saturday @ 8:30 p.m. ET/PT
� SOUL FOOD (NEW) � Based on the critically-acclaimed film of the same name, SOUL FOOD reunites the Joseph family in a dramatic series that chronicles the lives of a tight-knit African-American family living in Chicago. The series explores the relationship between three sisters, the men in their lives and their children. The Joseph family faces everyday triumphs and tragedies to which all families can relate. See the entire series from the beginning exclusively on BET. Tuesday & Thursday @ 9 p.m. ET/PT
� L-BOW ROOM (NEW) � Actor and singer Leon steps into the role of talk show host as he brings viewers provocative and frank discussion about the topics of the day in a laid back setting that�s bound to open things up. It�s �no holds barred� conversation at its best in the L-BOW ROOM. Thursday @ 11:30 p.m. ET/PT
� 10TH ANNIVERSARY BET WALK OF FAME � BET honors the renowned Smokey Robinson with recognition worthy of one of R&B�s most influential contributors in a night of spectacular tributes and performances by Stevie Wonder, India.Arie, Joss Stone, Gerald Levert, Brian McKnight, Usher, Gladys Knight and more. Legendary BET host and award-winning radio personality Donnie Simpson makes a celebrated return as host of the show. Past honorees include Michael Jackson, Boyz II Men, Kenneth �Babyface� Edmonds, Whitney Houston, Patti Labelle, Luther Vandross, Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder and Aretha Franklin. Tuesday, October 26 @ 9 p.m. ET/PT
� THE SOURCE HIP-HOP MUSIC AWARDS � The Source Magazine again joins forces with BET for the ultimate salute to the greatest in hip-hop music. Don�t miss a star-studded lineup of performances and appearances by the biggest names in hip hop today. Tuesday, November 30 @ 9 p.m. ET/PT
� 106 & PARK WORLD AIDS DAY 2004 � 106 & PARK and the Kaiser Family Foundation link in partnership on World AIDS Day. Health professionals discuss HIV/AIDS in the African-American community and enlist the help of popular BET hosts and noted musical artists to help get the word out about safe sex. December 1 @ 6 p.m. ET/PT
� BET RAP-IT-UP FILM SHOWCASE (NEW) � It�s been nearly a year in the making, with dozens of independent film submissions on the subject of HIV/AIDS narrowed down to a pair of winners. BET�s Rap-It-Up program, created to address the HIV/AIDS epidemic among African Americans, and the Black AIDS Institute unveil two short subject works in recognition of World AIDS Day. December 3, Time TBA
Returning BET Favorites
Igniting excitement about a new television season is often easier when viewer favorites can still be found in the lineup, with new episodes all their own. �The combination of new programs with the usual suspects that our viewers love to see is what sets BET apart from other networks who only occasionally target African Americans,� said Stephen Hill, BET Senior Vice President of Music Programming and Talent. �There is no shortage of variety in the lineup we�ve put together for the new season.�
Here is a rundown of BET�s top returning shows for the new Fall �04 season:
� THE STUDENT CENTER � Sassy host Tiffany operates THE STUDENT CENTER with the latest info on music and entertainment mixed in with music trivia and some fresh music videos from hip hop and R&B. Monday-Friday @ 3 p.m. ET/PT
� RAP CITY: THA BASSMENT � RAP CITY embraces authentic hip-hop culture at every level with host Big Tigger, the illest DJ�s from across the nation and the hottest rappers in the business. Monday-Friday @ 4 p.m. ET/PT
� 106 & PARK: BET�S TOP 10 LIVE � Hosted by the hottest duo in hip-hop, AJ and Free, 106 & PARK lays down slammin� music videos with a live audience and celebrity guests. Monday-Friday @ 6 p.m. ET/PT
� BET.COM COUNTDOWN � Young Sir hosts this cyber music show with thematic highlights from the latest music videos as voted on-line by BET viewers. Monday & Friday @ 7:30 p.m. ET/PT
� BLACK STAR POWER CINEMA � BET showcases the best in contemporary African-American films four times a week, including a new Sunday afternoon timeslot. Monday & Friday @ 8 p.m. ET/PT; Saturday @ 11 p.m. ET/PT; Sunday @ 1 p.m. ET/PT
� CLUB COMICVIEW � It�s another wild season of BET�s laugh-a-licious chuckle-fest, hosted by Rickey Smiley and featuring some of the funniest comedians in the business. This year's comedians are the funniest of the funny and CLUB COMICVIEW has added some new twists with side-splitting skits, Sheryl Underwood's zany commentary and a live funky band. Monday-Friday @ 10 p.m. ET/PT
� BET NIGHTLY NEWS � The country�s only national newscast from an African-American perspective will again cover the top news of the day along with features of special interest to BET viewers, anchored by Jacque Reid. Monday-Friday @ 11 p.m. ET/PT
� COMING TO THE STAGE � BET�s runaway comedy reality hit is back for a new season of aspiring comics battling before a celebrity panel of judges along with new host Bruce Bruce and critic-in-residence Kim Coles. Wednesday @ 9 p.m. ET/PT
� BET: THE NEXT � Enjoy contemporary artists and music videos from the worlds of hip hop, gospel, neo-soul, reggae and jazz with host Terrence. Saturday @ 1 p.m. ET/PT
� MAAD SPORTS � BET�s ultra-cool sports interview show breaks the huddle on a new season with new host Anthony Dorsett, Jr., ex-NFL player and son of NFL Hall of Famer Tony Dorsett, chatting it up with the biggest stars of the NBA, NFL, Major League Baseball and more. Saturday @ Noon ET/PT
� BOBBY JONES GOSPEL � Get into the spirit with Gospel Music Hall of Famer Dr. Bobby Jones and the Nashville Super Choir as they play inspirational hosts to the world�s top gospel artists from Yolanda Adams and Fred Hammond to Smokie Norful and more. Sunday @ 9 a.m. and Noon ET/PT
� LIFT EVERY VOICE � Get a Sunday morning dose of inspiring gospel music videos and insightful interviews with top gospel artists hosted by Gerard Henry. Sunday @ 11 a.m. ET/PT
** EDITORS NOTE � Downloadable images of BET talent, logos and other media information are available at www.bet.com/pr. ACCESS LIMITED TO MEDIA ONLY.
BET, a subsidiary of Viacom, Inc. (NYSE: VIA and VIA.B), is the nation�s leading television network providing quality entertainment, music, news and public affairs programming for the African-American audience. The BET Network reaches more than 79 million households according to Nielsen Media Research, and can be seen in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean. BET is a dominant consumer brand in the urban marketplace with a diverse group of branded businesses: BET.com, the Number 1 Internet portal for African Americans; BET Digital Networks � BET Jazz, BET Gospel and BET Hip Hop, attractive alternatives for cutting-edge entertainment tastes; BET Event Productions, specializing in a full range of event production services, including event management, venue selection, talent recruitment, sound, lighting and stage production; and BET Books, the nation�s leading publisher of African-American themed romance novels under the Arabesque Books label, and publisher of new imprints Sepia and New Spirit.