Business

No. 91: Debra Lee | Power 100

91

Debra Lee, 63

Chairman/CEO, BET Networks

Last Year's Rank: 82

NEW EDITION AND NEW LEADERSHIP: BET began 2017 on a historic note as the miniseries The New Edition Story became the highest-rated TV biopic of all time, with a combined audience of 29 million viewers. It ended the year with a similarly auspicious event: Lee, a 32-year veteran of the cable network, handed the day-to-day reins to new network president Scott Mills in December, and will take on more of an ambassador role at the company. "I'm really looking forward to helping out any way I can," says Lee.

STRONG FINISH: BET finished 2017 with an 8 percent increase in year-over-year ratings among the key 18-49 demo, thanks to music programs like the BET Awards (5.8 million viewers), Soul Train Awards and Gucci Mane and Keyshia Ka'oir: The Mane Event, whose live wedding special drew over 2.2 million viewers. And the success of the New Edition program has spawned a sequel on the life of Bobby Brown.

Billboard Power 100 2018