How BET Finally Got Overdue Emmy Recognition
We talk a lot about historic Emmy nominations and wins, and it’s always fun to talk about “firsts” — like “Squid Game” becoming the first non-English-language show to land a serial nomination. But one breakthrough that struck me was BET’s significant airing through its streaming service, BET+.
That includes a nod to directing a comedy series category, for freshman series “The Ms. Pat Show” and choreography for scripted programming via period drama “The Porter.” This is the first time BET has received major nominations for scripted series; the company’s previous three nods were for Musical Direction, Actress in a Short Series, and Outstanding Achievement in Directing Non-Fiction Films. BET’s only Emmy to date came from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences in New York, which honored him for the “Rap-It-Up” public service campaign.
In other words, it was time. Even though BET has been around for more than four decades — having launched in 1980 — it was never nominated for a Primetime Emmy until this year. It’s the latest feather in the cap of BET chief Scott Mills, who was promoted to CEO in November.
For much of BET’s existence, it was known more for its music programming and videos than for its original fare. When he took over as president of the company nearly five years ago, Mills sought to change BET’s image, signing Tyler Perry to an overall deal, launching BET+ and establishing BET Studios.
“These two historic appointments are truly important first milestones and an extraordinary affirmation of this BET transformation that the entire team has been working on for over four years,” Mills tells me. “We realized that to realize our potential, that we had to really elevate the quality of the content that we were delivering to our audience, we had to expand the breadth of the content that we were delivering to our audience, we had to expand the resonance and relevance and ultimately volume because we were creating all of these platforms, and so to do that, we knew we had to work with the best black content creators and we had to really expand BET’s relationships.
“The Ms. Pat Show” came to BET via Lee Daniels — and rather than toning down comedian Patricia “Ms. Pat” Williams’ routine, they put it on the streaming service. very real comedy that allows us to expand the way we tell stories,” says Devin Griffin, General Manager of BET+. consider it something really honest.”
Griffin says he’s hoping for Emmy recognition for two very different shows in ‘Ms. Pat’ and ‘The Porter’ recalls that ‘we understand that black stories are varied and the black experience is not monolithic’, noting that BET+ is “a platform for bolder stories, bolder ideas”.
New shows are on the way, including “Queenie,” starring Taraji P. Henson as the “godmother of the Harlem Renaissance,” as well as the thriller “Average Joe” (starring Deon Cole) and What Happens From Kenya Barris as he settles into his new contract with BET Studios.
“When we created BET+, the positioning was always that it was the premium BET content platform,” says Mills. “And there’s no better way to underline that than to get our first two Emmy nominations a few years after the service launched.”