On Friday night, MTV and BET preempted their regular programming in the 10 p.m. ET time slot to present What Now? An MTV News and BET News Town Hall. The Viacom siblings were also joined by eight other Viacom networks in presenting the special, which came at the end of a week of racially charged violence. Participants in the conversation included Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Fabolous and Pusha T. The town hall was hosted by Jamil Smith, Charlamagne Tha God, Marc Lamont Hill and Franchesca Ramsey.
Canvs, the language analytics company, analyzed tweets captured by Nielsen surrounding the town hall, which encouraged audience participation on social media via through the #WhatNow hashtag. Canvs detected 8,552 tweets with specific Emotional Reactions (ERs) out of 43,053 total tweets. The top emotions fell into the “love” (39%), “dislike/hate” (25.4%), “good” (12.1%) and “congrats” (6.2%) categories. An outpouring of “congrats” might seem, at first, like an an odd outcome for a town hall prompted by tragedy, but a deep dive into individual tweets shows that a critical mass of viewers were inspired to express appreciation to BET and MTV for producing the special:
Kudos to the BET and MTV communication/outreach\unnamed teams for organizing #WhatNow.
— Simone Smith (@simonelsmith) July 9, 2016
— o'shea (@YObrandynn) July 9, 2016
Um this MTV town hall is excellent so far.
— Chappell Ellison (@ChappellTracker) July 9, 2016
Viewers also took to Twitter to praise individual hosts and participants:
— Katie Barnes (@katie_barnes3) July 9, 2016
— Erika Bullock (@DrErikaBullock) July 9, 2016
Fabolous? Wow. #WhatNow
— Westeros Pipes (@rodimusprime) July 9, 2016
Hella proud of Charlamagne
— Janelle MoBAE✨ (@_jadorececexo) July 9, 2016
I have so much respect for @cthagod
— Derian Hall (@Its_TeamHeat) July 9, 2016
Everybody go watch #WhatNow
— Dcd❄️ (@destineechanel_) July 9, 2016
If you missed “What Now?,” the full special can be viewed online at BET.com.