BET’s fiery red, orange and yellow décor turned out to be entirely appropriate when midway through Digital Networks chief Paxton Baker’s speech, the fire alarm started going off. (Not 10 minutes earlier, BET Networks Chairman/CEO Deborah Lee had declared "black is hot and always will be.")
Baker played it cool, talking over the buzzer and the flashing alarm lights, while someone from the hotel reassured the room over the loudspeaker that an emergency team was looking into the matter. Baker joked that the network’s programming is, as "Debbie [Lee] mentioned – very hot."
That programming includes series on R&B up-and-comer Keyshia Cole and rapper DMX, which premiere tomorrow, a fall series on the Quincy Jones pop-culture rivalry DVDs Beef, and new awards show, November's Hip Hop Awards.
The network, apparently, is gung-ho on reality TV, says Entertainment President Reginald Hudlin, who informed the crowd that an overwhelming "half" of his TV viewing is reality programming. "A lot of people say, ‘you’re doing a lot of reality TV,' and by ‘reality,’ some people mean ‘evil,’" he said. "I like reality TV."