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6/26/2005

 
Internet, Wireless Technology and Virtual Advertising Will Play Exciting Roles in '05 BET AWARDS

Star-Studded Salute Hosted by Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith Televises on June 28

LOS ANGELES, June 26 /PRNewswire/ -- When the 2005 BET AWARDS show goes live from Hollywood's magnificent Kodak Theatre at 8 p.m.Eastern/7 p.m. Central on June 28, both the BET network and its interactive subsidiary BET.com will roll out some technological firsts for the millions of viewers that tune in. Virtual advertising makes its BET debut during the live preview show and actual awards telecast with a sold-out inventory of national brands. Wireless voting for the popular Viewers' Choice Award will be a first-time companion to the internet tallying on BET.com during the telecast. Both are groundbreaking additions to BET's annual salute to the best in music, sports and entertainment.

"The influence of technology is inescapable, and it will have a prominent place in our biggest production of the year," said Louis Carr, BET President of Advertising Media Sales. "The advertising community has responded very well to the prospect of having a virtual presence at different junctures during our telecast. For viewers, the three-dimensional effect of the virtual ads will be an impressive addition to the overall look, feel and excitement of the show."

Michael Pickrum, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for BET.com, said "We've taken convenience and ease of participation to a brand new level by adding wireless access to the on-line voting for the Viewers' Choice Award. Because of the real-time nature of the Viewers' Choice selection, excitement builds throughout our telecast in anticipation of the winner. We believe that wireless access will greatly increase the number of viewers who actually vote for the artists in that category."

The freshest faces in R&B, hip hop, gospel, sports and entertainment will electrify the 14 competitive BET AWARDS categories, led by a new crop of top nominees like sexy Ciara, soulful crooner John Legend and masterful hip-hop artist/producer Kanye West. Hollywood power couple Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith will be first-time hosts for BET's glamorous evening, now in its fifth incredible year.

The lineup is packed with sizzling performances, appearances and tributes including living legend Stevie Wonder and smoking hot "Dirty South" rapper T.I. along side superstars Mariah Carey, Destiny's Child, Missy Elliott, The Game and former B2K phenom Omarion. Other celebrities slated to appear or present awards include Halle Berry, Alicia Keys, Steve Harvey, Mario and Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Gladys Knight. Humanitarian Award recipient Denzel Washington will make a special video appearance, with wife Pauletta on hand to accept the award on the couple's behalf.

Leading the roster of virtual advertisers on the BET AWARDS are 20th Century Fox, Jive Records, Warner Music, J Records, Miramax Films, TVT Records, Priority Records and Paramount Pictures. Wireless access to the BET Viewers' Choice Award is available via all major cellular carriers -- Sprint, Verizon, Nextel, Cingular and T-Mobile.

To access the wireless voting feature, users can simply send a text message from their device to 23882 (BETVC) with the code for the artist and music video selection for which they are voting. At different points throughout the BET AWARDS show, viewers will be prompted to vote either via wireless or on-line for one of the nominated artists. The cost for the wireless voting is 50 cents per vote. Nominees for the BET Viewers' Choice Award are (song title in parenthesis) Ciara featuring Missy Elliott (1, 2 Step); Destiny's Child featuring Lil Wayne and T.I. (Soldier); Mario (Let Me Love You); Omarion (O); Terror Squad featuring Fat Joe (Lean Back); and T.I. (U Don't Know Me).

In addition to providing internet and wireless access the BET AWARDS experience for its users, BET.com will also offer a rare look behind the scenes into the BET AWARDS Media Center. Streamed on the BET.com website immediately following the telecast, highlights will include complete coverage of the press conference interviews and photo sessions with the winners, nominees, performers, presenters and celebrity guests at the '05 BET AWARDS.

ABOUT BET

BET, a subsidiary of Viacom, Inc. (NYSE:VIA) (NYSE:and) (NYSE:VIA.B) , is the nation's leading television network providing quality entertainment, music, news and public affairs programming for the African-American audience. The BET Network reaches more than 80 million households according to Nielsen media research, and can be seen in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean. BET is a dominant consumer brand in the urban marketplace with a diverse group of branded businesses: BET.com, the Number 1 Internet portal for African Americans; BET Digital Networks - BET Jazz, BET Gospel and BET Hip Hop, attractive alternatives for cutting-edge entertainment tastes; BET Event Productions, specializing in a full range of event production services, including event management, venue selection, talent recruitment, sound, lighting and stage production; and BET Books, the nation's leading publisher of African-American themed romance novels under the Arabesque imprint which also publishes compelling fiction under the Sepia imprint and inspirational fiction and nonfiction under the New Spirit imprint.

Visit us @ http://www.bet.com/

Source: BET (Black Entertainment Television)

CONTACT: Michael Lewellen, +1-202-608-2003, michael.lewellen@bet.net, or
Tosha Whitten-Griggs, +1-818-655-6712, tosha.whitten-griggs@bet.net, both of
BET

Web site: http://www.bet.com/




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