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BET logo
Launched January 25, 1980
Owned by BET Networks (Viacom) (1980-present)
Picture format 480i (SDTV)
1080i (HDTV)
Slogan It's My Thing (former)
Home Of The Revolution (current)
Country  United States
Headquarters Washington, D.C.
Sister channel(s) BET Gospel
BET Hip-Hop
Bell TV (Canada) Channel 576
DirecTV (USA) Channel 329 (SD/HD)
Channel 1329 (VOD)
Dish Network (USA) Channel 124
Shaw Direct (Canada) Channel 582
Sky Digital (UK/Ireland) Channel 191 (198 +1)
Freesat (UK) Channel 140 (141 +1)
Verizon FiOS Channel 270
Channel 124
Available on most cable systems Check local cable listings for specific channel numbers

Black Entertainment Television (commonly referred to by its acronym BET) is an American cable network based in Washington D.C., and targets young African-American audiences. Robert L. Johnson founded the network in late-1979. Most programming of the network comprises mainstream rap and R&B music videos and urban-oriented movies and series.

Its urban music programming includes 106 & Park, a show taped before a live audience counting down the top videos requested by viewers and inviting rap and R&B artists to promote their music. The Deal is BET's flagship program for rap music, and the network also regularly shows a block of R&B videos under the banner BET Now(No Longer airs). BET has been the target of criticism and protests for broadcasting videos that are accused of promoting immorality.[1][2] Additionally, the channel shows syndicated television series, original programs, and some public affairs programs. On Sunday mornings, BET broadcasts a lineup of network-produced Christian programming; other, non-affiliated Christian programs are also shown during the early morning hours daily.

As of Late 2009 BET no longer has any music video programming besides 106 & Park, and Video Gospel.



After stepping down as a lobbyist for the cable industry, Philadelphian Robert L. Johnson decided to launch his own cable television network. Johnson would soon acquire a loan for $15,000, and earned a $500,000 investment from John Malone to start the network.[3] With the fundings, Johnson needed a niche audience to build ratings, so he chose the African-American audience and named his channel Black Entertainment Television. BET began broadcasting as a block over the channel space of Nickelodeon on January 25, 1980.[4] It wasn't until January 1, 1983 when it became its own channel.[citation needed]

Initially, the network lineup consisted of music videos, original programs (see Original Series) and reruns of popular black sitcoms. BET was mostly controlled by Johnson, who held 90%, while John Malone held the remaining 10%. Due to recently starting, and low rating, at the time, BET was losing money, but in 1985–1986, things turned around for the young channel.[3] Network president Reginald Huldin resigned on September 11, 2008.[5] On January 25, 2010, BET celebrated its 30th anniversary with a slight change to its on-air logo, covering the star half of the logo.


Public Enemy rapper Chuck D,[6] journalist George Curry,[7] writer Keith Boykin,[8] comic book creator Christopher Priest,[9] filmmaker Spike Lee[10] and cartoonist Aaron McGruder (who, in addition to numerous critical references throughout his series, The Boondocks, made a particular episode criticizing the channel), all have protested BET's programming and actions. As a result, BET heavily censors suggestive content from the videos that it airs, often with entire verses removed from certain rap videos.[1][2] The channel also censors some of the programming it shows. Profanity is often censored.

Enough is Enough is a group led by the Reverend Delman Coates that has devoted much time to protesting BET under the grounds that much of BET's hip-hop videos are degrading.[1][2] It backed an April 2008 report titled The Rap on Rap by the Parents Television Council that claimed that BET rap programming, which they believed contained gratuitously sexual, violent, and profane content, was targeting children and teens.[11] Furthermore, scholars within the African American community maintain that BET perpetuates and justifies racism by affecting the interpersonal beliefs others may generalize about African Americans, and also by affecting the psyche of its young viewers through its bombardment of negative images of African Americans.[12]

Sister networks

The spin off channel BETJ, originally called BET On Jazz (later BET Jazz), aired from the late 1990 until the fall of 2009. Programs on it included My Two Cents with Keith Boykin, Bryonn Bain, Crystal McCreary Anthony and Staceyann Chin, The Best Shorts hosted by Abiola Abrams, Living the Life of Marley about Ky-Mani Marley, My Model is Better Than Your Model with Eva Pigford and The Turn On hosted by Charlotte Burley.

On September 28, 2009 BETJ was renamed PRAYZ1 which founder and black panther member James Fro Man Frager took over the network with adult hip-hop aimed at 70 year old men to Centric.[13] It features music, movies, reality shows and specials for adults. It is confirmed to show reruns of Soul Train and on November 29, The Soul Train Awards will make a return. They are in talks to have a new "Soul Train" sometime this year (2010).[citation needed]

They also operate two digital music channels, BET Gospel and BET Hip-Hop (formerly BET Jam Zone).


BET's success, and the controversy over its content, has spawned a few smaller competitors aiming toward the African-American market. Although some like NUE TV (New Urban Entertainment Television) and Black Family Channel (formerly MBC) had little success, others like TV One have thrived and succeeded, mostly by eschewing BET's music-based programming for more family-oriented fare. However these networks are mostly watched by older African-Americans and BET continues to be mostly watched by the youth. A possible new arrival to Internet TV and broadcasting, The African American Channel, is making an attempt to enter the picture. Broadcasting and Cable magazine pointed out that The African American Channel could become a competitor of BET and others such as Black Family Channel and TV One in the not-so-distant future.[14] In 2008, rapper Master P, who claims to have a "great relationship with BET", announced the launch of Better Black Television, which he intended to meet "consumer demand for family friendly hip-hop content".[15]



BET UK first transmitted on Videotron (now known as Virgin Media) and several other cable networks from 1993 up until 1996.[16]

In May 2007 by Ofcom, BET International Inc was given a license to re-broadcast in the United Kingdom. BET UK is the first international version of the channel.

BET is available on Sky Digital Channel 191 after launching on Wednesday 27 February 2008 and on Freesat Channel 140 after launching on August 8. BET+1 is also available on Sky channel 198 and Freesat channel 141, and is Free-to-air. BET UK shows a mix of content from the main BET channel and locally produced shows. An exclusive HD version of the channel was made to show the BET Awards 2009 on Freesat EPG 142


BET became available in Canada in October 1997 on most cable and satellite carriers. The Canadian feed is the same as the American feed, though sitcoms and films with rights belonging to other parties in Canada are replaced with a block of music videos without a BET logo appearing on-screen.

BET Awards

The BET Awards is an awards ceremony established by BET in 2001. The awards celebrates African Americans and other Minorities in music, acting, sports and other fields of entertainment over the past years. It is also presented annually and broadcast live on BET. In 2010, the awards ceremony will have celebrated its 10th anniversary.

Original series

See also


  1. ^ a b c Lee, Felicia R. (2007-11-05). "Protesting Demeaning Images in Media". The New York Times. 
  2. ^ a b c Eggerton, John (2008-04-09). "PTC, Enough Is Enough Campaign Take on MTV, BET". Broadcasting & Cable. 
  3. ^ a b Johnson, Robert; Dumaine, Brian (2002-10-01). "The Market Nobody Wanted". Fortune Small Business. Retrieved 2008-09-08. 
  4. ^ "Corporate Fact Sheet". BET Networks. Retrieved 2008-09-12. 
  5. ^ Wiltz, Teresa; Farhi, Paul (2008-09-12). "BET President Resigns". The Washington Post: p. C7. Retrieved 2008-09-12. 
  6. ^ "BET 2001 ; THE FISHTANK OF FOOLS". 2001-03-30. Retrieved 2008-02-05. 
  7. ^ "Viacom's BET Turns into ET". 2002-12-10. Retrieved 2008-02-05. 
  8. ^ Keith Boykin (2002-12-18). "All Hail Bob Johnson". Retrieved 2008-02-05. 
  9. ^ Christopher J. Priest (2001-02). "the ostracized negro". Retrieved 2008-02-05. 
  10. ^ Zap2it - TV news - Spike Lee Dismisses BET
  11. ^ Moss, Linda; Umstead, R. Thomas (2008-04-10). "PTC Puts A Bad 'Rap' On BET, MTV". Multichannel News. Retrieved 2008-07-27. 
  12. ^
  13. ^ BET, MTVN Unveil Centric - Soft Launch For Network Aimed At African-American Adults, MultiChannel News, September 28, 2009
  14. ^ Goetzl, David (2007-09-17). "A Decent BET". Broadcasting & Cable. 
  15. ^ "Master P Launching Cable Network". Broadcasting & Cable. 2008-08-15. Retrieved 2008-08-21. 
  16. ^

External links

Simple English

Black Entertainment Television (BET)
Type Cable network
Availability National and parts of Canada
Owner Viacom
Key people Robert L. Johnson - Founder and former Chairman
Debra Lee CEO/Chairman of BET
Reginald Hudlin Programming President
Launch date January 25, 1980
Former names None
Official Website BET.COM

Black Entertainment Television (BET) is an American cable television television network. It is based in Washington, D.C.. The network is targeted toward African-American audiences in the United States. Most of what it shows is hip-hop and R&B music videos as well as religious shows and movies and series for African-Americans.


BET was founded by Robert L. Johnson on January 25, 1980. The network started out as a two-hour Friday night show on the USA Network each week. It was on from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. (EST). They mostly showed older movies and music videos. In May of that year, BET started showing Black collegiate sporting events. In November 1980, BET added two half-hour shows, Black Showcase and The Bobby Jones Gospel Show. On June 26, 1983, BET started showing Video Soul, a music video series. On October 1, 1983, BET started broadcasting 24 hours daily with help from Home Box Office. In the latter years, BET has moved from having a variety of Black entertainment to mostly showing music videos around the clock. who now owns it.

Popular original BET shows

  • Video Soul
  • Bobby Jones Gospel
  • Lift Every Voice
  • 106 & Park
  • Rap City
  • Video Vibrations
  • Caribbean Rhythms
  • Video LP
  • Lead Story
  • Teen Summit
  • College Hill
  • Lil Kim: Countdown to Lockdown
  • Keyshia Cole: The Way It Is
  • DMX: Soul Of A Man
  • The Basement
  • BET's Top 25
  • BET's BlackBuster Movies
  • BET's Comic View
  • Coming To The Stage
  • BET Live
  • BET: Uncut
  • Countdown
  • BET Style
  • Hits From The Street
  • Cita's World
  • BET Tonight with Tavis Smiley
  • BET Tonight with Ed Gordon
  • Midnight Love
  • Season of the Tiger
  • The Black Carpet
  • How I'm Livin
  • Planet Groove
  • American Gangster
  • Beef: The Series
  • Top 25 Countdown
  • Freestyle Friday
  • Spring Bling
  • Wild Out Wednesday

Other websites

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