BET to Lay Off Staffers

Black Entertainment Television's recently announced news alliance with CBS
News will force the layoffs of about 15 percent of BET's overall work force.

BET president and CEO Debra Lee said the move was part of a 'redeployment of
resources' and 'staff adjustments' as it works to 'enhance and strengthen its
coverage of news in the African-American community.'

BET announced at the Television Critics Association tour earlier this week
that it will use the resources of CBS News to help program its existing and new
news and public-affairs initiatives.

The agreement is the first of what BET executives expect to be several
programming and resource alliances between the network and other Viacom
Inc.-owned services. Viacom purchased BET for $3 billion in November.

The layoffs are the second for the network since the Viacom deal. BET fired
more than 50 employees in March in what it termed then as a 'work-force

R. Thomas Umstead

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.