Two BET Execs to Leave

Veteran Black Entertainment Television executives Nina Henderson-Moore and Michael Lewellen will leave the network to pursue other interests.

In an internal memo distributed to BET employees, CEO Debra Lee described as “stellar” Henderson-Moore’s seven-year career as head of its news division. “Under her tutelage, BET News became a dynamic, multiplatform information source for our viewers,” Lee wrote.

Lee also said in the memo that Lewellen, who took over BET’s public-relations helm in 1999, “guided our corporate-communications function through some of BET's most pivotal, historic and, on occasion, publicly challenging times,” including the network’s 2000 sale to Viacom and the retirement of founder Robert Johnson last year (

“We’re in a strategic evolution point in terms of the overall direction of the business and the company in particular,” Lewellen told Multichannel News. “My role has evolved through a variety of iterations during my seven years at BET, so at this point, I think now is a good time to bring in some fresh blood and some fresh approaches at some key roles.”

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.