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BET Veteran Stephen Hill Promoted to Head of Programming

BET Networks vet Stephen Hill has been promoted to the Viacom cabler’s top programming post.

Hill fills the void left earlier this year when Loretha Jones exited after a six-year run as head of programming.

Hill has been with BET for more than 15 years and most recently served as prez of music programming and specials. He’s supervised the growth of the cabler’s live events and specials such as the BET Awards and “Black Girls Rock.”

“I have worked with Stephen for over 15 years, and his passion for the BET Brand has been apparent from the very beginning. He has grown our music shows and specials into iconic and highly-rated programs beloved by our audience,” said BET Networks chairman-CEO Debra Lee. “Over the past several years, he has expanded his role into scripted programming, launching our hit series ‘Real Husbands of Hollywood.’ He is well-qualified and ready for this new challenge and I am excited to have him in this new role.”

With the scripted series push that Jones led and the success of “Real Husbands,” BET is in growth mode with its original programming. But it is also facing more competition than ever before as cable nets ranging from VH1 to Oxygen target multicultural auds.

BET aims to make a statement about its programming ambition in February with the premiere of its first scripted miniseries, the sweeping historical saga “The Book of Negroes.”

“BET has always been a trailblazer and it’s a privilege to be at the helm of programming for a brand that has delivered shows that have, literally, changed the face of television,” Hill said. “We will develop and produce fresh, audience-thrilling programming to complement our strong slate of new original content, returning hits and mega-specials.”

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