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BET, UNCF To Partner On 'Stars' Telecast

BET is partnering with the United Negro College Fund to televise the foundation's annual UNCF An Evening of Stars event this fall.

BET will air the UNCF An Evening of Stars special in September, although an official date has not been announced, according to network officials. The 33-year-old event, which has aired in syndication over the past few years -- including its most recent edition earlier this year -- will change its format from an artist tribute show to a music variety event, with short video segments spotlighting a few of the 60,000 students whose education UNCF supports every year, according to UNCF president and CEO Michael Lomax.

Additionally, the new program aims to rally the entertainment industry around the importance of education and embody the spirit of UNCF's motto, "A mind is a terrible thing to waste."

Viewers will be able to text donations to the organization during the event.

"It's an extraordinary opportunity for two powerful brands in the African-American community to come together on behalf on what is today arguably the most important cause in the African-American community, which is ensuring that the next generation gets the kind of education that will make them not only lead strong and productive lives but make them economically viable in an increasingly challenging and harsh economy," Lomax told Multichannel News. "[The BET agreement] definitely provides us with a larger media platform that this program and this issue deserves."

Performers for the UNCF An Evening of Stars have yet to be announced. The show - formerly known as the Lou Rawls Parade of Stars -- will be taped before a live audience on Aug. 14, the network said.

BET, which has aired the UNCF An Evening of Stars in the past, has also partnered with UNCF on several other projects, including the BET Walk Of Fame.

"There's always been a connection between BET and UNCF so we're excited to partner with them to unite our two strong brands," said Stephen Hill, President of Music and Specials Programming, BET Networks. "We do specials and awards shows so our role is not only the airing of the show as we've done in prior years but also in overseeing the production of the show."

Hill said the network decided to air the special in the fall to coincide with the back to school season. "It was a matter of getting people thinking about giving to colleges and schools as school starts," he said. "Our goals are very clear - we want to raise as much awareness and funds for the UNCF as humanly possible."