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BET, Turner Pageants Set Talent Rosters

Black Entertainment Television and TBS Superstation last week unveiled an impressive list of entertainers set to appear on the networks' respective awards-show telecasts.

BET's Oct. 28 telecast of its 9th annual Walk of Fame, honoring Aretha Franklin, will feature Norah Jones, Mary J. Blige, Alicia Keys, Chaka Khan, Seal, Ronald Isley and American Idol winner Ruben Studdard, said network officials.

The Walk Of Fame show is consistently one of the network's highest-rated shows of the year, and BET officials expressed confidence this year's two-hour version — filmed from the network's Washington, D.C., studios — would match or surpass the 1.7 rating generated by last year's event celebrating Stevie Wonder.

For its part, TBS Superstation will honor former South African President Nelson Mandela, actress Angela Bassett, music pioneer Isaac Hayes and track and field Olympian Marion Jones as part of Turner Broadcasting System Inc.'s 2004 Trumpet Awards ceremony. Also slated to receive Trumpet Awards, which honor African-American achievers in fields as diverse as law, politics and entertainment, are former cable executive Don Barden and hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons.

TBS will air the show Feb. 21 as part of its Black History Month programming lineup. Last year's Trumpet Awards garnered a 0.9 household rating for TBS.

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.