If you were wondering why T.J. Holmes gave up his CNN post to head over to BET, the answer will be revealed on October 1 at 11 p.m.
Holmes will debut his new show “Don’t Sleep” a nighttime talk and news show that will put him directly against local news programming around the country. Airing weeknights from Monday through Thursday, “Don’t Sleep” aims to be a news program for a market often underserved by mainstream news – African-Americans. Despite BET’s uneven history with news programming with former news honchos Ed Gordon and Tavis Smiley, both departing the network after successful news show, they’re looking to Holmes to try it again. This time BET is bringing a stellar support staff to the table. The show is being co-produced by Madeline Smithberg, an Emmy and Peabody Award winning producer who co-created and ran “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart.”
Social media will be a big part of “Don’t Sleep.” You can join the conversation on Twitter by using the hash tag #BETDontSleep and follow the show @BETDontSleep. Expect a mix of content that will include special guests, debates, and a unique look at newsmakers in the African-American community, something that Holmes says he’s looking forward to doing.
“I had been at CNN 5 years doing that Saturday and Sunday morning show,” Holmes said. “I had had opportunities over the years to go other places so if I wanted to leave, I could have just left. I was waiting on the right opportunity and the right opportunity came along. The right opportunity was one where I was able to speak directly to my community and do something that I wasn’t able to do at CNN. Those news networks are set up differently and they have a different purpose. Now I’m setting up a show to focus in, to hone in and to speak on topics and to speak to a community that doesn’t have that right now, at least on TV. There’s talk radio, you can get it online, but there’s no place else you see these conversations being had. And that was important to me.”