To coincide with the inauguration of the first African-American U.S. president on Jan. 20, BET has unveiled an extensive programming slate that includes a range of star-studded events, live coverage and news specials.
“Our goal for our inauguration coverage is to share the experience with our audience and to tell the story of a dream realized,” said Debra Lee, chair-chief exec of BET Networks, who talked up the cabler’s inaugural plans on Saturday at the Television Critics Assn. winter tour at the Universal Hilton.
The initiative will kick off Jan. 17, with the “BET Honors” at the Warner Theater in Washington, D.C. Event, which will premiere on the net Feb. 9 at 9 p.m., will honor the accomplishments of Earvin “Magic” Johnson, B. Smith, Judith Jamison and Rep. James E. Clyburn (D-S.C.).
Those making appearances will include Queen Latifah, Anita Baker, Terence Howard, Cedric the Entertainer and Hill Harper, with Gabrielle Union serving as host.
On Jan. 20, at 8 p.m., Nick Cannon will host the network’s one-hour inauguration celebration special, “Yes We Will!” Broadcast live, event will include perfs by Common and Jazmine Sullivan. It will also feature live shots from BET’s Inaugural Ball at the Mandarin Oriental hotel in D.C. That event will include a performance by Wyclef Jean and appearances by Colin Powell and his wife Alma.
Inauguration-themed programming leading up to Jan. 20 will also include two half-hour BET news specials, “The Obama Effect” and “King to Obama,” as well as a two-hour special edition of the network’s music countdown show “106 and Park.”