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Noted Hollywood Filmmaker Reginald Hudlin Joining BET as New President of Entertainment

Pioneer Brings Experience as Writer, Director and Producer to the Network

WASHINGTON, July 12 /PRNewswire/ -- BET President and CEO Debra L. Lee has made a strategic addition to her senior executive team, today announcing filmmaker Reginald Hudlin as President of Entertainment for BET. Hudlin joins the network immediately, and will divide time between BET programming and production hubs in Los Angeles and New York, and company headquarters in Washington. He becomes chief programming executive in charge of BET's music, entertainment, specials, sports, news and public affairs, film and program acquisitions, home entertainment and programming development units.

(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20050712/DCTU056 )

"At a time when original programming is a strategic priority for BET, I am thrilled to have one of Hollywood's brightest and most creative minds join us," said Lee, who was named as BET Founder Robert Johnson's successor last month after 20 years with the network. "Reginald joins us at a point when BET is celebrating its 25th anniversary; distribution is at an all-time high; and our viewership continues to grow. It's the ideal circumstance to which an executive with his track record can bring additional creativity and vision."

"There is no media property with greater growth potential than BET," said Hudlin. "I'm grateful for Debra, Bob and Tom's (Freston, Co-President and Co- Chief Operating Officer of Viacom) confidence in my ability to shape the creative future of the network. I look forward to working with them as we guide BET to the next step in its evolution with a wide range of original programming."

Hudlin is regarded as a pioneering and influential catalyst behind the modern Black film movement, exploding on the scene with older brother Warrington in 1990 with production of the comedy "House Party." His filmography also lists "Boomerang", "The Great White Hype", the first Black animated feature "Bebe's Kids" and "The Ladies Man" among his producer and directorial credits. Hudlin's most recent film, the Paramount Pictures romantic comedy "Serving Sarah" in 2002, featured former Friends star Matthew Perry, British actress Elizabeth Hurley and comedian Cedric "The Entertainer."

Hudlin's experiences have provided him the opportunity to work with other noted actors such as Chris Rock, Samuel L. Jackson, Eddie Murphy, Halle Berry, Will Ferrell, Jeff Goldblum, Bernie Mac, Martin Lawrence and Steve Harvey among others.

Television has already been fertile ground for Hudlin's knack for success, including "Cosmic Slop," an award-winning science fiction anthology for cable network HBO. Hudlin also won a BET Comedy Award in 2004 for his directing and producing work on Fox Network's The Bernie Mac Show. Prior to joining BET's executive ranks, Hudlin signed to direct Chris Rock's new sitcom Everybody Hates Chris for BET's Viacom-owned sister channel UPN. In addition, he will also serve as executive producer on the new animated adaptation of the edgy comic strip The Boondocks, which premieres on Cartoon Network in November.

A passion for comic books -- more than 50,000 in his private collection -- led Hudlin to write his own ground-breaking comic resurrection of the world's first Black superhero The Black Panther last February. This project led to the coveted job of writing the new Spider-Man comic book series for Marvel Comics. Also on his writer's dossier are the books Birth of a Nation, a comic novel penned in 2004 about Hudlin's hometown of East St. Louis, Illinois; and One Nation Under a Groove, based on the music and cosmic antics of funk musician George Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic slated for release next year.

Hudlin comes to BET at a time when the network is riding high from the mega-success of the '05 BET AWARDS, which set an all-time network audience mark with 6.6 million viewers on June 28 to become cable television's #1 program for that week. Current BET signature shows like 106 & PARK: BET'S TOP 10 LIVE, BET BLACK-BUSTER CINEMA, COMICVIEW, BOBBY JONES GOSPEL and reality genre hit COLLEGE HILL are strong contributors to the network's recent ratings success.

New programming additions on BET's schedule for the Fall '05 season -- including a hard-knock reality series for business mogul "wanna-bes" starring hip-hop entrepreneur Damon Dash called ULITMATE HUSTLER -- will give Hudlin exciting tools in his new role. Also in the works at BET is a new physical body and inner spirit make-over show called REMIXED; and a revamped approach to news coverage that features hourly news briefs, issues-driven news specials, a weekend news magazine show and interactive news content delivery via BET.com.


BET, a subsidiary of Viacom, Inc. (NYSE: VIA; 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.

Photo: NewsCom: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20050712/DCTU056
AP Archive: http://photoarchive.ap.org/
PRN Photo Desk, photodesk@prnewswire.com

Source: BET (Black Entertainment Television)

CONTACT: Michael Lewellen of BET, +1-202-608-2003,
michael.lewellen@bet.net, or Lynda Dorf, +1-310-248-6105, ldorf@bwr-la.com,
for BET

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

NOTE TO EDITORS: Downloadable photography of Reginald Hudlin available at http://www.bet.com/pr; with additional background information also available at http://www.hudlinentertainment.com.

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