BET Nightly News Unveils New Look

Black Entertainment Television, drawing on its ties with CBS News, will unveil a new-look BET Nightly News
this week.

The cable service will throw the switch at its new studio and news-production home in New York's CBS Broadcast Center on Feb. 25, in time for the 11 p.m. telecast of BET Nightly News,
BET senior vice president for news, public affairs and programming acquisitions Nina Henderson-Moore said.

BET would not provide specifics on the new studio's look, but recently named executive producer Will Wright said the show will receive a "dramatic" facelift.

"Through the [CBS] partnership, we've been given the opportunity to utilize a vast array of technological resources that are not currently being used to produce television newscasts," Wright added. "It's cutting-edge in terms of technology, and also how it is cross-platformed within the Viacom family."

The BET Nightly News
relaunch will mark the official beginning of Viacom Inc.-owned BET's synergistic relationship with the news division of corporate sister CBS.

Last summer, BET announced CBS would jointly produce BET's weekday news shows —BET Nightly News
and BET Tonight with Ed Gordon— although BET would retain direct control of each show's content.

The agreement gives BET access to CBS Newspath's 24-hour newsgathering operation for its other shows. In turn, BET news personalities may appear in CBS News productions.

"For the first time, we will be a worldwide newsgathering operation that will provide news and information for the African-American community," Henderson-Moore said.

She declined to reveal financial details of the network's news relaunch, but said the both BET and CBS will contribute resources to bolster the network's news presence.

Wright, who piloted New York-area TV station WWOR's news department for a decade, would not say whether BET Nightly News
would adopt a faster, more up-tempo Headline News-type programming format. But it will be paced "appropriately for the events of the day and to our audiences," he said.

In March, BET and CBS will bow 60-second news vignettes that will run on the hour during primetime, starting at 8 p.m. and leading up to the BET Nightly News.

One proposed show that did not make the cut is Inside Studio 2,
a monthly newsmagazine that was announced last summer.

Henderson-Moore said the advertising slump forced the network to focus more attention on other news and public-affairs vehicles.

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.