Kizzie Frank - Arts & Entertainment Editor
After decades at the Black Entertainment Television (BET) network, chairman and CEO, Debra Lee decided to leave the company, effective May 28th 2018. In January of this year, she stepped down as president, the one who oversees day to day operations and overall strategy for BET Networks. Executive VP and chief administrative officer at Viacom, Scott M. Mills, stepped in as BET Networks president at that time.
While BET has maintained popularity, holding the title for the most-watched sitcom premiere of the 2014 show, “The Game”, with 28.4 million viewers, some would say that BET had lost its fire and excitement long ago. 106 & Park was non-existent after Terrance and Rocsi left as hosts, Rap City was a thing of long lost past, and the beloved BET Uncut had been cut years prior.
(2018 BET Awards: Full List of Nominees: Commentary)
Lee will leave BET Networks with her legacy that includes the overall BET website, BET Her, a network for African American women, BLACK GIRLS ROCK!, “BET Foes Pink”, and “BET Vote Your Voice” just to name a few. During her time at BET she also started the annual conference “Leading Women Defined” where women gather “for insightful debates and conversations on issues that impact their community and families.”
“Debra’s vision and creativity has cemented BET Networks as a premiere network for African Americans and lovers of Black culture. As BET continues to move forward, we will always be grateful to Debra for her leadership and commitment to creating top-notch entertainment that both entertains and empowers. - Bob Bakish, President and CEO of Viacom