After premiering only on October 1st of this year with 400,000 viewers and peaking October 9th with 1 million viewers, BET executives have decided to cut back on the airing of “Don’t Sleep” with TJ Holmes. Before the scheduled cut backs the show aired at 11pm EST weekday nights. Now the show will only air on Wednesday nights at 11pm EST for one full hour.
BET’s CEO, Debra Lee said, “To be honest, the ratings haven’t been great in the past two weeks. Our audience always says they want this kind of programming, but they don’t show up.”
BET released a statement saying, “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,”
“We will now have an hour-long format to educate, empower, and engage. This will allow us more time to delve deeper into topics and determine how we can all, in our own way, be agents of change,” Holmes wrote on his website. “As part of being extended to an hour, the show will move to Wednesday nights at 11 p.m. This will allow us to do on-location reporting from cities and communities across the country.”
There are a few of BET’s critics that are really upset and they don’t feel the show was given a fair chance. Let’s look at the facts. BET airs the show at 11pm PST and the demographic they are targeting is usually asleep or preparing for bed at that time. They don’t try to move up the time slot or air the program several times through out the day like Comedy Central does for the “Daily Show” with Jon Stewart and they didn’t promote the show much and then say, the viewers don’t show up. In the opinion of many, this is classic BET. Radio programming and programming a network are entirely two different things but they have some similarities; if you were a BET executive what would you do?