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BET Awards Set Ratings Record

Black Entertainment Television's June 24 BET Music Awards telecast set
an all-time viewership record for the African-American-targeted network.

The show -- which featured appearances by such artists as 50 Cent, James
Brown and Michael Jackson -- generated a 4.3 rating, reaching 5.5 million

The awards show bested a 1996 BET News interview with O. J. Simpson, which
pulled 4.2 million viewers, earning a 6.9 household rating.

"For us, this is the ultimate validation for the biggest African-American
awards show on television," BET president and chief operating officer Debra Lee
said in a prepared statement.

"For our fans to respond in record numbers clearly shows that they love what
we do and underscores the fact that BET is the No. 1 destination for African
Americans of all ages," she added.

In other BET news, the network announced the resignation of chief financial
officer Bob Ambrosini, who will leave to pursue "other professional endeavors."
Ambrosini joined the network in 2000. BET officials did not reveal a

"Bob did an excellent job successfully guiding BET through one of our most
historic transactions -- the acquisition by Viacom [Inc.]," Lee said in a
prepared statement.

"He has been a strategic contributor across a range of business areas, and he
helped to provide financial guidance important to BET's continued growth," she
added. "We wish him the very best as he pursues other

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.