Earlier this year it was announced that BET would officially launch in the UK, November 07…
Now some of you may remember our own little version of BET, The Identity Channel which launched in 1993. The Identity Channel was aimed at the black community and featured BET shows, Teen Summit (my favourite), Rap City, Donnie Simpson’s Video Soul, along with shows imported from the Caribbean/Africa and locally produced shows.
Sadly though The Identity Channel ceased transmitting in 1996, due to lack of funding.
The fact that the channel kept on repeating the same episodes of shows imported from the US, Jamaica, Trinidad, Africa everyday for almost a year, was a sign that all wasn’t well up in Identity towers….
However, fast forward to June 2007 when BET International senior vice-president and general manager, Michael Armstrong flew in to London and spoke to high brow broad sheet newspaper The Guardian.
Loaded with the news that UK media regulator, Ofcom, had granted a licence to the network, Armstrong went on to tell the newspaper that the network planned to operate in the UK for a very long time and that the UK channel, the first international launch of the BET brand, would commission its own locally produced shows as well as importing hits from the US.
He also added “We are very interested in bringing a BET channel to the UK that is designed and developed for the UK audience. It will be different in the UK. It will be programmed differently and we are definitely looking at commissioning programmes locally.”
So far so good I thought…
but then I read the list of BET shows that they planned on screening here, some of which we could do without!
Lil’ Kim – Countdown to Lockdown – Now for a start Lil Kim was released from prison 2 years ago. Why is this “reality” vehicle going to be of interest to anyone in 2007/2008???? Kim’s situation is no longer relevent! Hell, Kim’s no longer relevent full stop!
College Hill – Another staged “reality” show debacle!
106 & Park – I cannot stand the constant cheering and screaming coming from over excited studio audience members after an artist finishes a sentence – The artist on the couch could go as far as breaking wind and I guarentee even that would generate screams and cheers – madness!
Anyway 2008 has arrived and all has gone quiet on the BET UK official network launch front. It was supposed to have made its debut in November but to my knowledge this hasn’t happened yet.
Why? I wondered….
Then several days ago MTV Base showcased their new shows for 2008. BET’s College Hill and DMX: Soul Of A Man (why are they screening this here 2 years after its initial screening in the US????) will both air in Jaunary…
Now I have two questions….
1) Are they just planning on airing the odd BET import via MTV Base?
2) Does this mean that we will no longer have the promised BET UK cable network channel?
Enquiring minds want to know!