Guest List Should Read: The Black and the Green
I.D. Please: Host of BET’s Don’t Sleep!; 34
VIP Status: As the only African-American anchor treading in the late-night pool, T.J. Holmes’ current MO is to reinvigorate BET’s news programming. The Arkansas-native ran down headlines at CNN from 2005 to 2011, and now will accentuate For-Us-By-Us journalism with his made-for-TV looks and vocals. Infusing witty and easygoing charm, the green-eyed broadcaster aims to keep brown optics ajar just a bit later.
“There’s no [network] where African-Americans can get home at night, turn on the TV and see somebody that looks like them, talks like them, talking about an issue that actually matters to them,” says Holmes. “I’m glad [BET’s] willing to grab a guy like me, with my credentials, for a venture like this. It’s a responsibility that I take seriously.”
Invited By: Stephen Hill (BET’s President of Music Programming and Specials): “Credibility and the belief that he’s on their side oozes from him, and that’s what’s crucial. He’s exactly what I felt BET needed: a smart, intelligent, funny late-night
Arrival: “Stephen Hill saw me host an awards breakfast a little over three years [ago]. He wasn’t that familiar with my background at CNN, but he saw me onstage using my knowledge of current events and personality to call people out in the audience when they did something stupid. He always had this idea for this type of show, but that’s when he looked up and said, ‘That’s my host!’”
Plus 1: Al Sharpton
“He’s not a young up-and-comer, but he’s got his show at MSNBC. It’s unfortunate… I can go through MSNBC, CNN, FOX, they just don’t have those African-American voices.”