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Stevie Wonder, T.I., Ciara, John Legend and Omarion Join 'Top Secret' Performance Lineup at BET AWARDS '05

HOLLYWOOD, Calif., June 20 /PRNewswire/ -- The investigation continues to escalate around BET AWARDS '05, the network's most celebrated production of the year. While most production details remain firmly under wraps, some key clues have been uncovered regarding BET's "top secret" plans. BET announced today that living legend Stevie Wonder, soulful R&B newcomer John Legend and smoking hot "Dirty South" rapper T.I. will join music superstars Mariah Carey, Destiny's Child, Missy Elliott and The Game, who are slated to burn up the stage with "off the meter" performances at the BET AWARDS '05. Airing live from Hollywood's esteemed Kodak Theatre on Tuesday, June 28 at 8:00 p.m. ET/7:00 p.m. CT, other additions to the lineup include sultry R&B singer Ciara and former B2K phenom Omarion. Celebrities confirmed 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.

(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20050620/DCM020 )

Hollywood power couple Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith will be first- time hosts for BET's electrifying evening, now in its fifth incredible year. Recognizing the biggest and the best in entertainment, music and sports personalities, the BET AWARDS '05 nods to several industry upstarts as top contenders for statues including four-time nominee Ciara, multi-talented artist John Legend and masterful hip-hop artist/producer Kanye West.

Though not divulging any specific plans for the big production, BET Executive Vice President for Entertainment and Music Programming and BET AWARDS Executive Producer Stephen Hill preps viewers for a mind-blowing opening sequence, warning fans to tune-in early.

"Even if it's your first time, be on time -- the show starts at 8 p.m. sharp," advises Hill. "If you get there at 8:05 p.m., you won't have a clue what people are talking about around the water cooler in the morning. That's how dope the show is, and that's how hot the opening is."

To kickoff this year's BET AWARDS celebration, the network has planned a noteworthy menu of BET AWARDS '05-related programming. The BET.COM COUNTDOWN started it all off with a nominee-themed week of shows spotlighting videos from artists nominated in five hotly-contested categories from June 13 - 18, followed by I WANNA THANK MY MAMA: BET Nomination Special which premiered on Thursday, June 16 at 8 p.m. ET/PT. Encore presentations will air daily during the week of June 20.

The day before the BET AWARDS '05, AJ & Free will amp up the excitement with a special awards show-themed edition of 106 & PARK from the heart of Hollywood, previewing the happenings for BET AWARDS '05 with special guests and hot videos on Monday, June 27, from 6-7:30 p.m. ET/PT. On ACCESS GRANTED: BET AWARDS SHOW viewers go behind-the-scenes for an insider's perspective on the inner workings of a major Awards telecast, including a sneak peak at rehearsals, classified artist interviews and the "top secret" preparations in this 30-minute special, only on BET on Monday, June 27, at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT.

In a scene that rivals the pageantry of Oscar night, a special live pre- show presentation of 106 & PARK: RED CARPET SPECIAL takes a stroll up the famed Hollywood Boulevard to capture the sizzling fashions and arrival excitement of Hollywood's glamour set. AJ & Free preside over the two-hour fan frenzy, including red carpet interviews, special performances and the top music videos of the day as selected by BET viewers on June 28, beginning at 6:00 p.m. ET/PT. The scene then shifts inside to the Kodak Theatre for the highly-anticipated "live" three-and-a-half hour awards telecast beginning at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT* when BET salutes 14 categories across the music, sports and entertainment spectrum. Co-hosted by Kevin Frazier of Entertainment Tonight and Jacque Reid of BET Nightly News, a BET News Special, BET AWARDS '05 POST SHOW: THE AFTER SHOCK wraps up the night with a post-show look at the festivities at 11:30 p.m. ET/PT*. A first-time synergy effort between Viacom properties BET Nightly News and Entertainment Tonight, the hour-long live post-show features an expanded format and unique look. (* -- Tape delayed to Pacific Time Zone)

In addition, BET viewers can cast their votes for their favorite performer in the BET.com Viewer's Choice poll at http://www.bet.com/, which will continue in "real time" during the telecast. Viewers can tune in to the ceremony to see if their chosen performer won the Viewer's Choice award, and also check out other interactive features.

BET will televise encore presentations of the BET AWARDS '05 on Friday, July 1 at 7:30 p.m. ET/PT; Monday, July 4 at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT; and Tuesday, July 12 at 7:30 p.m. ET/PT.


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/
Photo: NewsCom: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20050620/DCM020
AP Archive: http://photoarchive.ap.org/
PRN Photo Desk, photodesk@prnewswire.com

Source: BET (Black Entertainment Television)

CONTACT: Amber Koger of Bobbi Marcus PR, +1-310-889-9200,
amber@bobbimarcuspr.com; or Tosha Whitten-Griggs of BET, +1-818-655-6712,

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

NOTE TO EDITORS: Screeners, b-roll and interview opportunities are available upon request; contact Amber Koger, Bobbi Marcus PR at 310-889-9200 amber@bobbimarcuspr.com or Zabrina Horton, BET Corporate Communications at 818-655-6712 zabrina.horton@bet.net. Downloadable images and logos are available at our PR website, www.bet.com/pr.

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