T.J. Holmes: BET Show Facing Changes Because of Ratings

Big changes in store for Black Entertainment Television’s late night political news show, “Don’t Sleep” hosted T.J. Holmes.

The newly launched series will go from airing four nights a week (Monday through Thursday) for 30 minutes and now air as an hour-long series once a week. Apparently the changes to BET’s only news oriented series is because of low ratings.

As first reported by The YBF, the revamped “Don’t Sleep” will now air each Wednesday at 11pm ET.

There’s been no formal announcement from BET about why the show is being cut to one day a week, despite being expanded to an hour.

The 35-year-old TV journalist left CNN after five years last December when his contract with the cable news giant expired.

Holmes received tremendous backlash from fans and fellow journalists alike who questioned his decision to leave CNN for BET, and the West Memphis, Ark.-bred talent made light of the situation on his premiere episode on Oct. 1.

T.J. Holmes & Debra Lee

At a New York City screening of the documentary, “Second Coming? Will Black America Decide 2012?,” BET’s CEO, Debra Lee revealed during a question and answer period that the show had disappointing ratings.

“To be honest, the ratings haven’t been great,” she acknowledged when by an attendee if BET would consider airing programming like the documentary on a weekly basis.

A Nielsen spokesman told Richard Prince’s Journal-isms by email on Monday: “‘Don’t Sleep’ on BET in its normal 11 pm time slot [averages] 349,000 people [2 years old and older] tuning in to watch live or that same day.”BET public relations team released a statement offering a positive spin on the show changes.

BET began their press release be declaring: “the viewers have spoken and due to the overwhelming demand, ‘Don’t Sleep’ will now be expanded to a one hour weekly format allowing for a more comprehensive discussion of the issues and events affecting the African-American community.”

TJ Holmes

The network statement also includes a quote from Holmes who offered: “I am excited to have more time to delve into the topics that affect our community, content that will ignite, inspire, educate and empower us as a passionate collective and community. The election proved people of color are a coveted segment within society with voices that deserve and require platforms and time to be heard so resolve and solutions can be implemented towards greater change.”

The release concluded with a statement from Stephen G. Hill, President of Music Programming and Specials at BET Networks.

“We are very proud of the show, and the platform it has provided for the nations’ brightest thought leaders. We love the passion of ‘Don’t Sleep’s’ dedicated audience and hope that the weekly appointment viewing of the show will grow that audience.”

Holmes, who is featured on the cover of the latest issue of Uptown magazine, is expecting his first child with his wife of two years, Marilee, in January.

TJ Holmes


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