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BET Lott Interview Nets Strong Ratings

Besieged Sen. Trent Lott's (R-Miss.) Dec. 16 appearance on Black Entertainment Television's BET Tonight with Ed Gordon mustered a 0.94 rating, nearly doubling the network's 0.5 November primetime rating.

Lott appeared on the show to apologize for and further explain comments he made at Sen. Strom Thurmond's (R-S.C.) 100th-birthday party, in which he suggested that the country would have been better off if Thurmond's 1948 presidential platform of segregationist policies had prevailed.

BET representatives could not be reached for comment at press time for reaction to the ratings.

The network announced last week that it would cancel BET Tonight, as well as several other public-affairs shows, in an effort to concentrate financial resources on the acquisition and development of entertainment shows.

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.