Lynne d Johnson



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01.12.06 02:12 PM

BET Getting Animated

As The Bible of Hip-Hop pointed out the other day the future of BET programming will be animated. They've brought in someone behind Adult Swim's Boondocks to make sure they've got game.

They're also starting to lineup more original programming and have released their 2006 schedule. As far as we can tell, Jamie Foxx and In Loving Color will continue to run.

Here's the season lineup:

SEASON OF THE TIGER follows the real life drama surrounding the struggle for excellence through the lives of five members of Grambling State University's legendary 225-member "Mighty Tiger Marching Band" and the GSU football team. The 'Greatest Show on Earth' is redefined when the winningest football team in history and their famous marching band take the field. For the kids it's a long, tough road that leads to game day each week and they'll do whatever it takes to be the best and win. As in the movies "Drumline" and "Friday Night Lights," the glory is hard-earned, whether it means taking hits on the football field or enduring grueling practice sessions for the band.

LIL' KIM: COUNTDOWN TO LOCKDOWN, chronicles the last two weeks of freedom for the now-incarcerated rapper Lil' Kim, who is paying the ultimate price for "staying true to the game." Edmonds Entertainment is allowed full-camera access to reveal the Queen Bee's dizzying final days of freedom as her entourage struggles to keep up appearances and she emotionally prepares to serve hard time.

COLLEGE HILL, is back with a fresh new look and even more drama than ever. BET partners again with Edmonds Entertainment on production of the series, in its third season. The new cast of season three turns up the heat at HBCU Virginia State University where tempers fly, tears flow, and secrets are revealed as eight college students struggle to live under one roof. From the camaraderie of Homecoming celebrations and sexy hot tub scenes, to break-ups and an emotional visit to Rosa Parks' funeral - emotions and conflicts are at an all-time high.

MEET THE FAITH charts a new course for Sunday talk shows showcasing what happens when religious leaders from mosques, synagogues, chapels and mega-churches gather in a non-religious forum to challenge the day's hottest topics. Award-winning journalist Carlos Watson of CNN fame moderates, mediates and referees this spirited discussion of multicultural hot-button issues. Without a doubt, this blending of cultures and belief systems will both clash and concur as panelists sort out the news and headlines of the week on Sunday mornings.

BET will once again present its annual CELEBRATION OF GOSPEL, hosted by the multi-dimensional Steve Harvey. Taped at LA's historic Wilshire Ebell Theatre, CELEBRATION OF GOSPEL will unite the brightest gospel stars of this generation and secular artists with gospel roots for an evening of uplifting and inspirational music. CELEBRATION OF GOSPEL premieres on February 23 at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

In April, SPRING BLING brings fever to the beach with sizzling hip-hop performances, blazing hot beachwear, and fun in the sun premiering on Thursday, April 13. Then RIP THE RUNWAY, produced in partnership with Cossette Productions, takes viewers on a virtual stroll down the catwalk in the fashion capitol of the world, New York City, to bring the hottest trends in urban fashion and music to television.

BET AWARDS '06 relocates to the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, as BET celebrates its 6th year of honoring outstanding achievement in music, entertainment and sports with a star-studded "live" telecast. The most-watched awards program among African-American viewers, this year's show will again be the hottest ticket in Black Hollywood, with glitzy red carpet arrivals, explosive show performances and riveting tributes by the hottest names in entertainment.

Here's what they've released to the press about animation and new executives...

Entertainment President Reginald Hudlin Hires Three Top Executives
In Newly-Created Posts, Including the Network's First-Ever Animation Exec

LOS ANGELES (January 10, 2006) - BET President of Entertainment Reginald Hudlin continues to shape the management structure of BET's programming division with the second wave of executive hires. Hudlin, who has only been in his post since July, has now brought aboard a trio of new senior executives as part of a strategy to expand BET's original programming. Among those new hires is an executive to execute Hudlin's plans for developing a first-ever animation production arm for BET.

Denys Cowan, most recently Producer and Supervising Director for Sony Television Animation on the Boondocks series for Cartoon Network's "Adult Swim" programming block, joins BET as Senior Vice President for Animation, under a newly-structured BET Entertainment Group. A 15-year veteran of the entertainment industry, Cowan was also the chief creative force behind the Static Shock animated series from Warner Brothers Animation that earned him consecutive Emmy Award nominations from 2001-2003. In addition to developing animated series for the channel, Cowan's responsibilities include creating animated product for the home video market as well as online and wireless.

"Denys took Static Shock, a comic book character he co-created, and turned it into a hit series for Kids' WB and the Cartoon Network," said Hudlin. "He was also incredibly instrumental in making the Boondocks a hit. He's a team player who knows how to make it happen."

Also joining the BET Entertainment Group are Byron Phillips as Executive Vice President of Entertainment and Darrell Walker as Executive Vice President for Business Affairs. The addition of Phillips and Walker help to solidify Hudlin's strategy to continue strengthening BET's relationships to the Hollywood entertainment community. All three of the new executives will report to Hudlin in BET's Los Angeles office.

Phillips will lead original programming development, strategic planning, and overall business development. Prior to joining BET, Phillips was founder and CEO of AHM Entertainment, an integrated branded entertainment and marketing solutions company with past clientele that includes Pepsi, Walt Disney, EA sports, Universal Gaming, EMI and Warner Bros Records. Phillips was also partners with Reggie Hudlin in the Television and Feature Film production company, HudPhilms. He holds a Bachelors Degree from UCLA, along with a Masters in Business Administration from Harvard University.

"Branded entertainment will be a growing part of BET's programming mix, and Byron's experience in that arena will be invaluable" says Hudlin. "He's also the first creative executive at BET with major record label experience, so he'll play a large role in expanding our working relationship with our music business partners. We've been working together for a while, so he's very attuned to my programming tastes."

Walker comes to BET from Mandalay Pictures, where he was formerly Executive Vice President for Business and Legal Affairs. His 15-plus years of deal making experience include tenure with Sony Pictures Entertainment and Columbia Pictures as a senior Business Affairs executive. Walker's new role for BET is serving as the head business affairs executive on BET Entertainment Group projects and negotiations. He earned his Juris Doctorate at Stanford University Law School; received his Masters Degree from The Queen's College, Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar; and earned a Bachelors Degree from Whittier College.

"Darrell is a total class act that is respected all over town. I've been on the other side of the desk with him at Sony and at Mandalay and I can say firsthand no matter how tough the negotiation is, he's always fair," Hudlin said.

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