September 12, 2008

Reginald Hudlin leaving BET

Reginald Hudlin, the Hollywood director who three years ago became president for entertainment of Black Entertainment Television, "is leaving the company and returning to his entrepreneurial roots as an independent producer," CEO Debra Lee told BET employees on Thursday.

While Hudlin's franchise was entertainment, "under his guidance, we significantly ramped up our BET News division, and as a result, we've received 13 awards for our news series and specials in just over two years, including four from the National Association of Black Journalists," Lee wrote in a letter to employees.

However, under Hudlin's tenure there were also programming choices made by the network that were controversial. The show "Hot Ghetto Mess," showing black people at their tackiest, became the focus of protests. The outcry forced a name change for the show before it aired its first episode. It was soon canceled.

Debra Lee also wrote to employees, "From the moment he joined the BET family, Reggie infused our program development with incredible creativity, energy and passion. Under his leadership, the entertainment division produced 17 of the top 20 highest-rated shows in the network's 28-year history, including 'Lil' Kim: Countdown to Lockdown,' 'American Gangster,' 'Baldwin Hills,' 'Sunday Best,' our first scripted series 'Somebodies,' and our highest-rated series ever, 'Keyshia Cole: The Way It Is.'"

Programs that no doubt will go down as making a positive contribution to the African American community.

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