[11/13/08 - 06:17 AM]
BET Networks Names New Programming Chiefs
Loretha Jones and Stephen Hill to serve as Presidents of Programming.

[via press release from BET]

BET Networks Names New Programming Chiefs

Loretha Jones Named President of Programming, Responsible for Original Programming, News, Development, Planning and Acquisitions

Stephen Hill Promoted to President of Programming, Responsible for Music Programming and Specials

NEW YORK, Nov. 13 -- BET Networks today announced two new leadership appointments to its Programming team, with Loretha Jones named President of Programming and Stephen Hill promoted to President of Programming. Both Jones and Hill will report directly to Debra L. Lee, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, BET Networks. Hill will continue to be based in New York, while Jones will be based in Los Angeles, and both appointments will take effect immediately.

As President of Programming, Jones will oversee original programming, news, development, planning and acquisitions for BET. In his role as President of Programming, Hill will oversee all music programming and specials for the network.

"I'm thrilled to welcome Loretha to the BET Networks family, and I'm so excited about Stephen's promotion," said Lee. "We've made great strides over the last few years with our original programming strategy, and this development is the next step in our evolution and in building on what we've already achieved.

"Loretha has spent her entire career working in the entertainment industry and has a wealth of experience -- not to mention a strong passion for the BET brand, fantastic energy, ground-breaking ideas, and strong industry relationships," Lee continued. "Stephen has done an incredible job during his tenure at BET Networks, thanks to his unparalleled creativity, his remarkable ability to produce unforgettable, buzzworthy shows, and his knack for knowing the 'next big thing.' I'm so proud of the path we're on, and I believe that the unbeatable combination of Loretha and Stephen gives us the right mix of skills, talent relationships, originality and imagination to bring us even more success."

About Stephen Hill

Named #1 on The Source magazine's 2006 list of most influential executives in the music industry, Stephen Hill previously served as Executive Vice President of Music Programming & Talent for BET. His responsibilities included managing and directing the creation, development and production of music programming at BET. He has overseen the production of the network's music programs, including 106 & PARK, RAP CITY and THE DEAL, and network specials SPRING BLING and RIP THE RUNWAY. Hill also serves as Executive Producer for the BET AWARDS (2002-present) and the BET HIP HOP AWARDS (2006-present).

Prior to joining BET in 1999, Hill worked for four years at MTV in New York City as director of music programming. As director, Hill was responsible for selecting and programming all genres of videos for airplay, working with talent and supervising the network's standards processes.

Hill got his start in the music industry during his time working with industry legend, Elroy Smith, who was program director at WILD-AM in Boston, MA. Upon Smith's departure, Hill was promoted to program director. In 1993, Hill and his team took WILD-AM to its highest rating ever, beating six full-time FM stations in the process. Hill has also done extensive work with ABC Radio Network's Urban Gold Format by launching their 24-hour format. Gaining many accolades for his work with ABC Radio Networks, he also served as executive producer for the Tom Joyner Morning Show.

Born in Southeast Washington, D.C., Hill credits much of his success to his childhood passion of announcing various songs that he kept on a tape player. He began shaping his formal career when he got his start at Brown's University's radio station, WBRU-FM, in Providence, RI.

About Loretha Jones

Prior to joining BET Networks, Loretha Jones had served as Executive Vice President of MTV Films / Paramount Pictures since July 2007. Before that, she was Senior Vice President of MTV Films / MTV Home Entertainment, overseeing development, production, music and marketing for multiple feature film, television and home video projects for the MTV and CMT brands from May 2005 to July 2007. From 2000 to 2005, Jones was a consultant and producer for MTV Films.

Jones has several television and film production credits to her name, including: Director / Executive Producer, multiple seasons of the television series The Parent 'Hood; Executive Producer, My Super Sweet 16: The Movie; Executive Producer, Broken Bridges; Executive Producer, All You've Got; Producer, Grammy Award-nominated The Fighting Temptations; Executive Producer, Carmen: A Hip Hopera; Executive Producer, The Price of Glory; Producer, The Meteor Man; and Producer, The Five Heartbeats. Before her career as a producer, Jones was an attorney with the law firm of Frankfurt, Garbus, Klein & Selz, representing various clients in film, theater, television and music.

Jones received her bachelor of arts degree from City College of New York and her juris doctorate from the New York University School of Law. She is a member of the Directors Guild of America, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, Producers Guild of America and New York State Bar Association.

About BET Networks

BET Networks, a division of Viacom Inc. (NYSE: VIA, VIA.B), is the nation's leading provider of quality entertainment, music, news and public affairs television programming for the African-American audience. The primary BET channel reaches more than 87 million households according to Nielsen Media Research, and can be seen in the U.S., Canada and the Caribbean. BET is the dominant African-American consumer brand with a diverse group of businesses extensions: BET.com, a leading internet destination for Black entertainment, music, culture, and news; BET Digital Networks -- BET J, BET Gospel and BET Hip Hop, attractive alternatives for cutting-edge entertainment tastes; BET Event Productions, a full-scale event management and production company; BET Home Entertainment, a collection of BET-branded offerings for the home environment including DVDs and video-on-demand; BET Mobile, which offers ringtones, games and video content for wireless devices; and BET International, an extension of BET network programming for global distribution.

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