POWER MOVE: Driving ratings with original programming and deeper music relationships.
THE RUNDOWN: BET Networks’ diverse slate of original programming, awards shows and specials continues to post viewer and ratings gains under Lee’s stewardship. The recent Billboard Women in Music honoree counts the BET Awards and Hip-Hop Awards (2.9 million and 3.1 million viewers, respectively, according to Nielsen), the revamped flagship music variety show “106 & Park” and its new artist marketing campaign called “Music Matters” as the reasons for BET’s seven-year status as the leading ad-supported cable network in prime time among African-American viewers.
Taking a page from 2012’s weekend-long Soul Train Awards in Las Vegas, the 2013 BET Awards will morph into the BET Experience at L.A. Live (June 28-30) for three days and nights of various events tied to the annual ceremony. Also on tap is “Being Mary Jane,” a new show starring Gabrielle Union, with a soundtrack that’s “so different from what you hear in other places,” Lee promises.
Lee, who joined BET in 1986 and held several different positions before becoming CEO in 2005, says, “We can’t emphasize enough the importance of music on BET . . . We continue to look for ways to get musical artists involved in their own shows, while also making music an important part of what we do every day.” That agenda, Lee adds, is what helps define her personal view of power: “It’s the ability to develop and greenlight appealing content that also defines our brand.