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BET sticks with news cuts

Neither criticism from journalists and the Black Congressional Caucus nor the
widespread buzz given Ed Gordon's exclusive interview with then-Senate Majority
Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.) is changing Black Entertainment Television's decision to cut back on its news.

BET had announced earlier this month that it is eliminating its scheduled
public-affairs shows and redirecting resources toward entertainment fare like
movies and joint productions with various partners.

Reps. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) and Harold Ford Jr. (D-Tenn.) have both
been critical and suggested that they'd contact the network to protest the decision.

Several newspaper columnists have similarly been critical.

But, spokesman Michael Lewellen said, while BET Tonight with Ed
and Lead Story will be gone -- along with about 40 network
jobs that BET said were cut from various parts of the company -- the network
still plans to continue news analysis. It will come in the form of specials and
documentaries as news and events warrant.

Lewellen added that the network will not "be locked into a cookie-cutter, half-hour
format," but it will "be more creative."