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Worked Up Over ‘BET Uncut’ Revival? Looks Like You’ve Been ‘Punk’d’

BET raised some eyebrows on Aug. 4 when it tweeted a plan to bring back the network’s controversial and edgy BETUncut video show on Aug. 11, nine years after pulling it off the air.

The African-American-targeted network had caught flack for airing the weekly series — which showcased mostly titillating music videos — so it was a surprise that the Viacom-owned programmer would look to bring it back.

BET viewers were even more confused when the network said the series would air at 11 p.m. That’s an early hour, considering that the show used to air at 3 a.m. due to its racy content.

Nevertheless, when it was time for the show to premiere, 501,000 viewers — about 100,000 more than BET drew during the same period a week prior — tuned in to see the new BET Uncut.

But just after the network began to run a “mature audiences only”disclaimer, it was quickly interrupted by BET on-air personalities Andrew Bachelor (King Bach) and DeStorm Power telling viewers that they had been punk’d.

It turns out the lead-up to launching BET Uncut was just an elaborate hoax created to promote BET’s revival of MTV’s 2000s series Punk’d, which the network officially launches this Tuesday (Aug. 18). The remainder of the 30-minute show was filled with previously seen Punk’d clips.

BET president of programming Stephen Hill told The Wire the ruse was all in good fun, for promotion’s sake. “We were fortunate enough to have a lot of good-natured humor and social media energy around it,” he said. “It was clearly in the spirit of the show.”

Once punk’d, twice shy?

— R. Thomas Umstead

To Cox’s Jacqueline Vines, Kudos for a Career Well-Done

The Wire has long admired Jacqueline Vines, the senior vice president and region manager for the Cox Communications Southeast Region, based in Baton Rouge, La. Why? Because she started out in cable as a receptionist for Time Warner Cable, in Dublin, Ohio, in 1984, rising in the ranks to management levels. Cox recruited her in 1992 as vice president of human relations in New Orleans and — after a stopover in San Diego — she further rose to a role where she oversees nearly 2,000 employees in three states. That’s what we call impressive.

Now we know there’s even more to admire: Vines has announced plans to retire at the end of the year, narrowly missing her longtime goal to retire at age 55 (she’s 56). “I’m so blessed to be able to have the resources to be able to retire, and now is the time,” she told the Advocate newspaper. For that, The Wire might add envy to admiration.

We also learned that, remarkably, she adopted three biological sisters in 2009. Then she married Leonard Wyatt two years ago and became stepmom to his three children. “I have three children I adopted at 48 and I got married at 54; I’ve lived my whole life backward,” she also told the Advocate in a nicely turned phrase.

A former foster child, Vines has advocated for children in numerous ways and has been honored for her service (which she plans to continue) by the Louisiana legislature.

Says Cox, in part: “We are truly grateful for all that Jacqui has done, and for the passion she has brought to the job each and every day. Anyone who has had the opportunity to work alongside Jacqui knows that she is a true champion for our employees, our customers, and Cox overall. She will long be remembered for her ability to create lasting connections with her employees, and creating an environment where they can grow and develop.”

— Kent Gibbons

Falling Skies Finale Auction Gets ‘Props’

Premiere Props is auctioning more than 1,500 items from TNT’s Falling Skies at its El Segundo, Calif., headquarters on Aug. 29 and 30 in advance of the series finale, which airs Sunday, Aug. 30, at 10 p.m.

The auction includes items from all five seasons, including Tom Mason’s costume from season five and a life-size skitter creature made out of rubber and foam (life size being about 46 inches by 28 inches by 20 inches, according to a prop house spokesperson, citing a description of the item for the auction).

For those Wire readers who can’t wait to get their mitts on a skitter critter and its “craggy ridges of reptilian skin, glowing eyes, minimal ears and pincer mouth” — OK, we got that from the spokesperson, too — no need to show up day-and-date.

On-site bidding begins 11 a.m. (PT) on Aug. 29. But Wire followers can start bidding now online at icollector.com, liveauctioneers.com and invaluable.com. (OK, so can everybody else, but we won’t tell if you won’t).

Other props on the block include Espheni Overlord’s Glowing Lava Stone and even Cochise’s (Doug Jones) “Volm Field Laser de-Harnessing Machine” for those hard-to-deharness lasers.

Other Premiere clients include Paramount, 20th Century Fox, Miramax, MGM, The Weinstein Co., Sony Screen Gems, Lionsgate and TriStar.

— John Eggerton