The fate of Black Entertainment Television, often abbreviated simply as BET, is in an interesting state at the moment being that ownership of the four-decades-old media conglomerate is currently up for grabs.
On the potential buyer’s shortlist includes The Weather Channel CEO Byron Allen, longtime hip-hop mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs and BET’s current top producer in programming who may just have the greatest opportunity of them all: Black Hollywood’s premiere Renaissance Man, Tyler Perry.
Perry at the current moment has The Oval (since 2019), Sistas (since 2019), House of Payne (since 2020) and Assisted Living (since 2020) airing on BET simultaneously — that’s not mentioning his streaming-only series’ and specials on BET+ with Ruthless (since 2020), the Sistas spinoff generated towards men titled Bruh (since 2020), Madea’s Farewell Play (2020), All the Queen’s Men (since 2021) and most recently a second Sistas spinoff, Zatima (since 2022). His plan to “take as much of [BET] as I can,” as he recently told Entertainment Weekly (seen above), doesn’t seem like a pipe dream in the least bit. if anything, there’s a great chance that he’s the most valuable contender, especially considering his billionaire status.
With that said, we think any Black ownership of BET is a good look overall. Our only request is that whoever ends up in possession of Black Entertainment Television brings back some of the classic programming that helped make the network a favored pastime amongst Black households in the ’80s, ’90s and early-to-mid 2000s.
Take a look below at 10 classic BET shows that we hope a new owner of the network — Diddy, Tyler, Byron or whoever! — considers giving back to the community at large. See if you remember these throwback gems from the BET vault:
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1. Cita’s World
Her animated quips, ghetto fabulous persona and purveyor of all things hip to the culture are just a few reasons to bring back digital diva Cita — big baby!
2. Hits From The Street
Aside from running down the best videos of the time, Al Shearer knew the perfect mix between comedy and street smarts.
3. Midnight Love
Quiet Storm bangers when you need to set the vibe late at night? Why did this ever stop?!
4. Comic View
Our own Rickey Smiley would fit right in place at his old home. Besides, the world could always use some weekly unfiltered comedy.
5. Teen Summit
With TikTok taking over the world at the moment, this iteration of Teen Summit could be revolutionary for the issues that Black teens of Gen-Z face today.
6. Rap City: Tha Basement
The freestyles, the interviews, the raw setting — everything about Rap City is needed in today’s state of hip-hop.
7. Black Panther: The Animated Series
Now that Black Panther as a franchise has made a huge resurgence in the culture ever since this stop-motion animated series first aired for one season back in November 2011, a reboot is almost guaranteed to be a hit.
8. Access Granted
Capturing moments like late R&B queen Aaliyah’s last days (seen above) was a service that Access Granted was able to provide for Black artists which didn’t translated as much culturally on the MTV counterpart, Making The Video. That behind-the-scenes view would be great for artists in 2023 and beyond.
9. BET Uncut
For pure laughs or to unapologetically get your freak on— no judgement here! — BET would have a ratings bonanza if they ever brought back the late-night programming of NC-17-rated music videos.
10. 106 & Park
The network’s bread and butter at one point in time, 106 & Park could still have legs at BET if marketed in a way that pays homage to the old model while ushering the video countdown platform into a more social-savvy setting.