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R&B Newcomers Ciara, John Legend, Hip Hop's Kanye West Dominate List of 2005 BET AWARDS Nominees

Young Diva Ciara Grabs Four Nominations for Star-Studded BET AWARDS Hosted by Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith Televising Live From Kodak Theatre on June 28

Featured Performers Include Destiny's Child, Mariah Carey, Ludacris, Missy Elliott and The Game

LOS ANGELES, May 16 /PRNewswire/ -- R&B and hip hop's freshest faces punctuated their break-out success as sexy new diva Ciara, soulful crooner John Legend, and masterful hip-hop artist/producer Kanye West top the nominations for the 2005 BET AWARDS, as announced by the network today. The red-hot Ciara led all nominees with four nominations for BET's star-studded salute to music, sports and entertainment on Tuesday, June 28 live from Hollywood's Kodak Theatre at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT (tape-delayed to Mountain and Pacific Time Zones). In addition to recognizing 14 categories across the entertainment spectrum, BET will also bestow its highest honors on music and entertainment royalty -- the incomparable Gladys Knight with the BET Lifetime Achievement Award; and Academy Award-winning actor Denzel Washington and wife Pauletta with the BET Humanitarian Award. Hollywood actor/actress power couple Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith will be first-time hosts for BET's electrifying evening, now in its fifth incredible year.

Top nominee Ciara landed consideration in the categories of Best Collaboration and Viewers' Choice for her duet "1, 2 Step" with lady rapper Missy Elliott, along with individual picks as Best New Artist and Best Female R&B. John Legend's explosive year earned him nods as Best Male R&B, Best New Artist and for Video of the Year behind his chart-topping solo "Ordinary People." Kanye West nailed the ultimate BET AWARDS cross-over with nominations for Best Male Hip Hop and Best Gospel Artist, along with Video of the Year for his spirited "Jesus Walks." Mega-favorites Destiny's Child graces the nominees' roster three times as Best Group and for Viewers' Choice and Best Collaboration with rappers Lil Wayne and T.I. for "Soldier." Other multiple nominees include past American Idol winner Fantasia in the Best New Artist and Best Female R&B categories, as well as glitzy Amerie for Best Female R&B and for Video of the Year for "1 Thing." Rap's power structure is represented as hip-hop strong man 50 Cent appears twice -- individually for Best Male Hip Hop and paired in Best Collaboration with former G-Unit mate The Game for "Hate It or Love It." Terror Squad featuring Fat Joe turned a double play as Best Group and in Viewers' Choice for "Lean Back"; as did former B2K group member and now solo thriller Omarion in the Best New Artist and Viewers' Choice categories.

Heart-pounding performances are a staple of the BET AWARDS, and 2005 promises to be extra hot as Destiny's Child, Mariah Carey, Ludacris, Missy Elliott and The Game are set to perform for the anticipated sell-out crowd inside the Kodak Theatre and the millions watching in prime time. Wrapped around the sizzling performances, celebrity presenters and emotional awards acceptances will be stirring tributes to Gladys Knight for an impressive body of work that transcends almost 50 years; and to Denzel and Pauletta Washington for their tireless commitment to improving the human condition through medical research, opportunities for treatment and children's welfare both in the U.S. and Africa.

BET has again teamed with Cossette Productions, famed producers of the GRAMMY Awards(R) and the four previous record-setting BET AWARDS shows, to handle production of the telecast. Viewership for last year's BET AWARDS show exploded to an amazing 5.7 million viewers, setting a new mark as the #1 telecast ever in BET's 25-year history. The BET AWARDS have also generated larger audiences among African Americans in the coveted 18-34 and 18-49 age groups than any other awards show telecasts -- including the GRAMMY Awards(R), Soul Train Awards, Vibe Awards, NAACP Image Awards, MTV Video Music Awards and others.

The annual BET showcase starts off with a special 106 & PARK: LIVE FROM THE RED CARPET pre-show hosted by dynamic duo AJ and Free beginning at 6 p.m. ET/5 p.m. CT, capturing the eye-popping fashions and arrival excitement of Hollywood's top-shelf superstars, mixed with music videos and special performances. The scene then shifts inside to the Kodak Theatre for BET's recognition of greatness in music, sports and entertainment. A BET NIGHTLY NEWS SPECIAL: LIVE FROM THE '05 BET AWARDS wraps up the night at 11 p.m. ET/10 p.m. CT with a post-show parade of interviews, reactions and highlights.

As early appetizers to wet viewer appetites, BET will also offer a menu of other preview shows and pre-event hype leading up the grand '05 BET AWARDS premiere, including:

through Friday, June 17 @ 12:30 p.m. ET/PT: Catch the latest music
videos of '05 BET AWARDS nominees from five hotly-contested categories
as a prelude to the big show on June 28.

June 16 @ 8 p.m. ET/PT: BET highlights the nominees and gets
predictions from viewers and even the artists themselves on who will
stand in the winners' spotlight with the BET hardware.

June 27 @ 7:30 p.m. ET/PT: It's the ultimate insider's look at what
happens in putting together BET's biggest night of the year, from set-
up to rehearsals with talent and executive interviews.

The BET online audience can get in on the BET AWARDS hype at two levels -- first as "virtual" members of the BET AWARDS voting academy. By logging onto http://www.bet.com/ , website users can vote for their favorite performer in the BET.com Viewers' Choice poll, which takes place in "real-time" during the actual BET AWARDS telecast. Another opportunity comes with the selection of the BET Ultimate Fan. From a group of 10 previously-selected video entries, website visitors can cast their votes between May 25 and June 2 for the individual who best demonstrates his or her wildest fanaticism for the '05 BET AWARDS show. The lucky winner receives a trip for two to this year's awards ceremony, $2,500 in spending money and a chance to co-present the Viewers' Choice category winner along side 106 & PARK co-hosts AJ and Free during the show.

Major sponsors for this year's BET AWARDS telecast include General Motors, Reebok (RBK), Procter & Gamble, Pepsi, Southwest Airlines, Red Lobster and Paramount Pictures. To ensure ratings success, a multi-tiered marketing strategy has again been developed by BET to support the telecast, including print, television, radio and outdoor advertising, as well as a grassroots promotional campaign and special tie-ins to sister Viacom-owned companies.

BET will televise an encore presentation of the '05 BET AWARDS on Friday, July 1 at 7:30 p.m. ET/PT. The following is a complete list of the year's BET AWARDS nominees and categories:

Best Female Hip Hop Best Male Hip Hop
Miri Ben-Ari 50 Cent
Jackie-O Jay-Z
Remy Martin Ludacris
Shawnna Snoop Dogg
Kanye West

Best Female R&B Best Male R&B
Amerie Anthony Hamilton
Mariah Carey John Legend
Ciara Mario
Fantasia Prince
Alicia Keys Usher
Jill Scott

Best New Artist Best Gospel Artist
Ciara Fred Hammond
Fantasia Donnie McClurkin
The Game Ruben Studdard
John Legend CeCe Winans
Omarion Kanye West

Best Actress Best Actor
Halle Berry Don Cheadle
Kimberly Elise Jamie Foxx
Regina King Morgan Freeman
Queen Latifah Mos Def
Gabrielle Union Will Smith

Best Collaboration (Song Title)
Ciara f/ Missy Elliott (1, 2 Step)
Destiny's Child f/ Lil Wayne and T.I. (Soldier)
The Game and 50 Cent (Hate It or Love It)
Jadakiss f/ Anthony Hamilton (Why)
Snoop Dogg f/ Pharrell (Drop It Like It's Hot)
Usher and Alicia Keys (My Boo)

Best Group
Destiny's Child
Lil Jon and the Eastside Boyz
The Roots
Terror Squad f/ Fat Joe

Video of the Year (Song Title)
Amerie (1 Thing)
Jay-Z (99 Problems)
John Legend (Ordinary People)
Snoop Dogg f/ Pharrell (Drop It Like It's Hot)
Kanye West (Jesus Walks)

Female Athlete of the Year (Sport)
Laila Ali (Boxing)
Gail Devers (Track & Field)
Lisa Leslie (Basketball)
Serena Williams (Tennis)
Venus Williams (Tennis)

Male Athlete of the Year (Sport)
Allen Iverson (Basketball)
LeBron James (Basketball)
Donovan McNabb (Football)
Shaquille O'Neal (Basketball)
Tiger Woods (Golf)

BET.com Viewers' Choice (Song Title)
Ciara f/ Missy Elliott (1, 2 Step)
Destiny's Child f/ Lil Wayne and T.I. (Soldier)
Mario (Let Me Love You)
Omarion (O)
Terror Squad f/ Fat Joe (Lean Back)
T. I. (U Don't Know Me)


Cossette Productions is Hollywood's most unique and comprehensive production company, with more than 35 years of experience offering diverse and creative consultation, direction and execution of entertainment production. To its credit, Cossette Productions has produced 33 years of the Grammy Awards telecast; eight weekly television series totaling more than 500 episodes; numerous award-winning Broadway theatrical plays and musicals; 50 major performance specials, award shows and celebrity tributes; corporate events for the nation's largest companies; and countless made-for-television motion pictures and mini-series.

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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