Chairman/CEO, BET Networks
Under the leadership of BET Networks chairman/CEO Debra Lee, flagship channel BET continues to post viewership and ratings gains, according to Nielsen, through a diverse slate of original programming, awards shows, specials and other initiatives.
| My Mentor: "My father Richard M. Lee has always remained a great mentor to me throughout my career. Some great advice he gave me early in my career was to always learn something new from every experience and every job and to never burn bridges. As you can imagine, this has been particularly helpful in my 27 years at BET Networks."
One of the most noteworthy of those initiatives: BET's Music Matters campaign, which identifies emerging artists to watch. The 2012 list included Kendrick Lamar, who recently debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200. Also giving BET a boost this year was No. 1 gospel competition show "Sunday Best"; the seventh annual Hip Hop Awards, which attracted 3.1 million viewers and a 2.3 rating, according to Nielsen; and the debut of Keyshia Cole's reality show, "Keyshia & Daniel: Family First." The series launched to the tune of 2.9 million viewers and a 2.2 rating. The BET Awards continue to rank among the top three cable award shows every year, while music variety program "106 & Park" remains No. 1 in that arena among adults 18-49 for 21 consecutive quarters. Beyond the core BET channel, of course, Lee oversees a diverse group of branded businesses including BET.com, BET Digital Networks, BET Event Productions, BET Mobile, BET Home Entertainment and BET International. In January, Billboard included Lee in the Power 100 countdown of the most important executives in the music business.