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BET To Cut Back On 'Don't Sleep' With T.J. Holmes

Television
by Sergio
November 16, 2012 10:17 AM
56 Comments
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T.J. Holmes

O.K. I confess, I never watched an episode of the show. And I really don't know much about this T.J. Holmes guy, except that he used to be an anchor on CNN, and women think he's like really really hot.

But even hotness wasn't enough to save his late night show, Don't Sleep, on BET

The ratings numbers and viewership have not lived up to what BET was expecting, and BET's CEO, Debra Lee, has announced that the show will move from being on the air every night at 11PM, to an hour, once a week on Wedensday nights.

The show premiered on October 1 with some 400,000 estimated viewers, and climbed up to almost a one million a week later. But after that, viewership has dropped like a rock, now averaging around  200,000.

According to Lee: "To be honest, the ratings haven't been great in the past two weeks. Our audience always say they want this kind of programming, but they don't show up."

Oh I see, so it's our fault.

BET also issued a statement saying: "The viewers have spoken, and due to the overwhelming demand, Don't Sleep will now be expanded to a one hour show weekly format allowing for a more comprehensive discussion of the issues and events affecting the African-American community."

However, I will say that one major reason why I never watched it was becaus I knew it wasn't going to be on the same abrasive, cutting edge level as The Daily Show, or the no apologies, take-it-or-leave-it, go for broke approach of HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher - Two shows that Don't Sleep was clearly hoping to be compared to.

I'm sure Don't Sleep played it very safe and careful. But what's the point? You can watch Jay Leno for that.

Did anyone watch it? What's your take.

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56 Comments

  • Shannon | June 25, 2013 11:39 AMReply

    "However, I will say that one major reason why I never watched it was becaus I knew it wasn't going to be on the same abrasive, cutting edge level as The Daily Show,...HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher...". How can you comment and compare on something you never watched. I loved the show and found it eye opening. It brought issues to light that I was not aware of. It dealt with real issues effecting Black America and perhaps this is the real reason that it was cancelled. Nobody wants to know what is really going on and we have a Black President to prove it....uh no.

  • Shannon | June 25, 2013 12:14 PM

    Oops, too clarify last statement: Nobody wants to know what is really going on and there are no problems for Blacks in America, we have a Black President to prove it....uh no.

  • Nic | February 25, 2013 9:24 PMReply

    I hate to say it, but as a black woman (who, incidentally is engaged to a product of interracial marriage), I didn't want to watch this show about "black issues" when the host is married to a white women. How you gonna jump ship & tell us "don't sleep"? Oh wait... I just checked, she's not white. Oops! LOL. Seriously, my bad. Hope it's not already canceled.

  • Milly | January 9, 2013 2:22 PMReply

    How can you comment on what you think/assumed a show was going to be about, and that's why you didn't tune in? I watched T.J. Holmes on CNN and I could tell that he was a well informed black man with much to say but not having the arena for which to say it in. He goes to BET so he can speak to his people and the only thing folks concentrated on his how handsome he is? That don't make no darn sense. It's a conundrum. He has to keep the show entertaining for those of you with a short attention span except for foolishness, but at the same time bring you hard hitting issues and information. How disgraceful of you to not even have taken the time to watch even One episode but you got the nerve to say you're not surprised it's cancelled. I guess not!

  • sergio | January 9, 2013 2:29 PM

    If he was a hot chick I definitely would have been watching. Why do think I always watch Tamron Hall on MBCNC? Wake up. I'm a guy. I'm basic.

  • imgood | December 31, 2012 4:02 PMReply

    They need to change the time who is going to stay up that late to listen to news stuff. The show is goo but the audience they are aiming for just do not want to say up that late for that.
    Let hope that when it comes back they do not have him doing stupid stunts to get ratings you know
    how some networks get to their stars and tell them how to behave.

  • FactChecker | December 20, 2012 12:29 AMReply

    I know I'm late on this. I had watched a few episodes, but then they changed the schedule and didn't tell anyone -- um, Hello! And I agree with Sergio regarding Lee's comments. What the Hell do they expect?! Three decades ago when BET was fresh, hot and new -- and there were, maybe 10 cable channels available -- and people were hungering for decent programming they barely gave any of their serious public affairs/talk/news programs a chance. ... Hence, they lost a whole generation of viewers that have moved on to other channels and outlets for their news and entertainment. Someone please tell Ms. Lee it takes time to build a brand and attract viewers to something that's new to them. ...Sadly, however, BET is really old news. TV One has done a much better job of filling the void for trying to improve on programming targeted at blacks. Too bad for TV One that they're not part of basic cable and are carried in too few markets.

  • linda | December 3, 2012 1:47 PMReply

    I thought the show was excellent for BET it had Awsome guest

    Wonderdul thought provoking questions. But it appears BET audience isn't ready for intelligent news which is sad. I'd it isn't booty shaking,cussing or singing they can't handle it.

    Well it appears BET went to sleep by cutting back on this show.

  • Tamara | November 19, 2012 3:51 PMReply

    The problem is the title DON'T SLEEP WITH TJ HOLMES. You've lost half the viewers (women) right there. LOL! Also, who watches news on BET. Who still watches BET?

  • Tamara | November 20, 2012 4:33 PM

    LOL @ ALM and Troy. I'm looking for a reprise of Colt in the new Star Wars feature. I feel it in my bones that Llando, if starring alongside the others, will be somewhere on some exxotical planet running a night club with fine dining, wine, booze, malt liquor, cigars, mink coats, silk 'stalkings' and jazz.

  • troy | November 20, 2012 4:06 AM

    maybe we can cross Billy Dee's Colt 45 ads with Emmanuelle(Skinamax) to a serial where women fantasize about an exciting life in the midst of ripped from the headlines settings on a romantic adventure with TJ Holmes. Replace Colt 45 with whatever fad wine ratchets are drinking.

  • ALM | November 19, 2012 8:58 PM

    Tamara......I like the way you think. I never thought about the title issue and the underlying subliminal message. LOL!!! Maybe the title should be "Ready for Bed" with T J Holmes. ;)

  • Lawrence | November 19, 2012 2:21 PMReply

    I like the show, but I could not watch every day. Once a week is better. I think viewership will rise. Wish it didn't come on so late though. 9 or even 10 PM would be better.

  • Kandie Kizzez | November 19, 2012 2:06 PMReply

    T.J. Holmes is a knock off of Real Time with Bill Maher. Not original programming at all. Consequently, the people who wrote this show CLEARLY don't understand the black audience. I agree with you ALM, move it to TVOne or Aspire and have some black people actually work on making it newsworthy.

  • troy | November 20, 2012 4:01 AM

    any character who is not entertaining shouldnt be on television unless they are serving a non-entertaining purpose.

  • Adam Scott Thompson | November 19, 2012 6:24 PM

    There's nothing original on TV. If it worked for someone else... at least that's the assumption (which is right more often than wrong). But Holmes is not Maher; he's not a comedian.

  • CW | November 17, 2012 2:22 PMReply

    I really enjoy this show. My husband and I were wondering what happened when it didn't come on for the past few days. I will say that 11p is a little late for us to stay up during the week so mabe these new changes will make a difference. I'm glad its not canceled. We need more positive shows that the black community and all communities can rely on .

  • Ms. Mooks | November 17, 2012 2:08 PMReply

    T.J. Holmes is flat-out BORING. 'Nuff said. ...and its on BET. Should I say more? They should get a comedian with political chops (Chris Rock?? DL Hughley?? Wanda Sykes?? No Mo'Nique. Tried that. Don't want to offend the audience with extreme yelling) After hours would be perfect--say 10/10:30 'n yes an hour show! And change the title of the show---Don't Sleep sucks! Matter of fact--a whole new network!! TVone would be a great choice.

  • Troy | November 20, 2012 3:59 AM

    Whoopi makes more money on the View they all original program stars on BET. She is very corporate. Stephen Colbert is the bizarro Whoopi Goldberg but she is on broadcast television.

  • ALM | November 17, 2012 9:25 PM

    Chile, I don't mind "boring" if it comes in a package that looks like T. J. Holmes. Chris Rock is too busy and too high profile to have a recurring deal with BET, and I have a feeling that D L Hughley and Wanda Sykes would only get through about 5 episodes before they say something so controversial that the show is boycotting. D L is in hot water right now with some Black women. Now that I think about it, with respect to demeanor, moderation skills, etc., Whoopi Goldberg would actually be the perfect choice for a show like "Don't Sleep". She has become less corporate and more honest about the issues that face Black Americans as time as gone by. The issue is, like Chris Rock, she's too busy and too high profile for a recurring deal with BET. If TVOne could get a similar show and raise the funds to hire Whoopi to do the show three or four times a week, that would definitely be must see tv.

  • starry118 | November 16, 2012 11:13 PMReply

    I like the show...they've had interesting panelists and engaging discussions, and I think TJ does a good job facilitating them. The main problem, for me, was the short 30 min runtime. It was a bit frustrating to really get into a discussion, only to have it cut off after 15 mins. I think the 1 hr format, even if it's only one day per week, is much better than daily snippets of a show. I watch Bill Maher, but didn't compare this show to his...just appreciated it for what it was: a show that discusses issues relevant to the Black community in an engaging way. Also, I'm a fan of Issa Rae, but don't think that the comedy segment should be on this show. There's enough comedy in the guest interaction on the panel.

  • Blackman | November 16, 2012 10:12 PMReply

    How you KNOW it wasn't 'CUTTING EDGE?'

    You NEVER watched.

    What a louse.

    Methinks you got issues with Brown and Fair skinned People. Yet you have an affinity with White People?

    typical socially engineered blackman. Why u even blog about Black thangs? We can tell by your fonts you KISS THE GROUND ON EVERYTHING WHITE.

    lol, yeah, u got a scraggly something you running behind. self-hatred is a typical trait of the easily led.

  • Troy | November 20, 2012 3:56 AM

    Aight, Cousin Jeff.

  • sergio | November 16, 2012 10:22 PM

    Hey T.J. relax. Calm down. So the show didn't work out. The chicks are still crazy about ya.

  • ALM | November 16, 2012 8:49 PMReply

    The show is on the wrong network. It should be on TVOne. I would watch the show if it was on TVOne. Yes, I said it!

  • Bohemian_princess | November 16, 2012 5:02 PMReply

    I watched it was just okay to me. Certainly not a bad show but there were definitely things that needed to be improved upon. It needed a chance to find its groove and work out the kinks. We are long last the days when network execs believed in their projects so much that they were willing to give it time to find an audience (wasn't Seinfeld an absolute flop until the 4th or 5th season?) I agree that TJ may not have been the best choice for this type of show.

    If this show does fail I hope BET doesn't take it as license to continue to present it's viewers with shows that are low in entertainment value and high in debauchery (I have yet to forgive them for what they did to The Game) . Yes we want intelligent programming but Don't Sleep in its present incarnation may not have struck the right chord with audiences. Back to the drawing board.

  • Troy | November 20, 2012 3:55 AM

    The Game, what do you expect to happen when you something back to life? A zombie program, none of viacom networks are original.

  • D.C. Kirkwood | November 16, 2012 2:45 PMReply

    T.J. is the wrong person to host this show he is corny and boring. Next!!!!

  • Robert | November 16, 2012 1:25 PMReply

    "I'm sure Don't Sleep played it very safe and careful. But what's the point? You can watch Jay Leno for that."

    If you didn't watch the show how could you write this? Where is the respect for journalism on this site?

  • Blackman | November 17, 2012 2:29 PM

    Robert, sirgeeeO isn't a good blogger either. The only post on this site that generate any degree of discussion are the ones about African Americans. Hence, whenever there is an African Tribalistic element; the readers post. No wonder the Hausa tribe RUN Nigeria. The yourba's and Ibo's are busy dividing. sad

  • sergio | November 16, 2012 5:51 PM

    Baby I'm all animal

  • rowanda | November 16, 2012 4:17 PM

    Sergio = Animal

  • sergio | November 16, 2012 1:32 PM

    How many times do I have say this? I'M NOT A JOURNALIST! And I've never said I was. If you want that go read the N.Y. Times

  • niksmit | November 16, 2012 1:07 PMReply

    I've never seen this show. However, I do record and watch W. Kamau Bell's FX show Totally Biased every week. If the BET show was trying to be in that sort of genre, then I'm guessing those who are saying they should've built it with a comedian instead of a serious news guy are probably correct.

  • Charles Judson | November 16, 2012 1:23 PM

    BET skews heavily female (almost 64%) and young (18-49 - 68.0%) which is great, but as it was pointed out, a non-comedian journalist who is male may not be the best way to broaden what BET has. (Did TJ ever have his "Anderson Cooper Katrina" moment?) As a pure personality draw, TJ Holmes probably isn't the best choice (not the worse either though). I hadn't seen the show so I checked out a few clips. I didn't realize that Issa Rae was on this and The Ratchet is damn good from the ones I watched. I know she's busy as hell, but if I was BET, I would try like hell to bump her up, make it DON'T SLEEP with TJ Holmes and Issa Rae, get rid of the damn desk and have them tag team on guests in a more relaxed atmosphere. Between TJ's more journalist like take and Issa's wit and smarts (and acerbic take that I think would appeal to men and expand what they have out more), I think they'd have something.

  • Anton | November 16, 2012 12:28 PMReply

    I feel bad for TJ Holmes. He seems to be a pretty intelligent and nice person, and he's great as a serious news personality, but this type of show simply isn't the format that suits him. Like Tambay said, he's not a comedian, so attempting to mold him as one was a big mistake. Plus, scrutinizing and debating black conservatives is admirable, but we can get that sort of thing from Sharpton's show on MSNBC. Therefore, the show isn't breaking new ground. Hell, even David Allen Grier's now cancelled "Chocolate City" was better than "Don't Sleep."

  • Adam Scott Thompson | November 16, 2012 12:00 PMReply

    It's a business. You have to give "the people" what they want. In this case it's less news, more cooning. At the end of the day, BET is just a symptom -- not the disease.

  • troy | November 20, 2012 3:50 AM

    black people watch alot of news. why do you think they are so happy to end up on it. These are some of the same people that coon it up at church for invisible zombie jesus.

  • spokensoftly | November 16, 2012 11:01 AMReply

    Here is my take:
    He is very attractive, proved his worth on CNN and his show should be a success.
    He had poor writers who failed to generate sticky topics.
    I think I heard him whining on one show to a blog producer.
    Nothing of worth can ever be launched on BET because they don't have the right guidance/foundation.

  • Jonas | November 16, 2012 10:53 AMReply

    Haven't seen it because I don't have cable. Feel bad for T.J but I'm not surprised. It seems incredibly disingenuous though to say you didn't watch it because you "bet they played it safe" or wouldn't "be on the same level" as the other shows you presume it was meant to compete with. How can you deliver a postmortem without ever having seen the body? #weak

  • troy | November 20, 2012 3:48 AM

    Leno is a comedian. Old white comedian.

  • sergio | November 16, 2012 11:42 AM

    "t seems incredibly disingenuous though to say you didn't watch it because you "bet they played it safe" or wouldn't "be on the same level" as the other shows you presume it was meant to compete with"

    So was it? As Tambay said below Holmes is not a comedian (neither is Leno) so there's no way it could have competed with The Daily Show

  • Really? | November 16, 2012 10:49 AMReply

    The best you could do is compare it to a white show? Is that all you think WE can aspire to be....a chocolate version of a white show? And your advice is 'to watch Leno'???? You need to go someplace else with that!

  • troy | November 20, 2012 3:47 AM

    news broadcasts or cable news is a pretty white platform.

  • Xi | November 17, 2012 1:22 AM

    Since BET went to Viacom, much of the programming became a poor knock off of another show.

  • Adam Scott Thompson | November 16, 2012 11:57 AM

    You mad? lol

  • sergio | November 16, 2012 11:40 AM

    O.K. so name me something really cutting edge on BET on TVOne that I could have compared it to

  • greg. | November 16, 2012 10:47 AMReply

    Doomed. The original show title was "Don't Sleep with TJ Holmes", which sounds like either a word of caution or an ABC sitcom. BET then shortened it to "Don't Sleep", i guess to appeal to "the kids". Kids with Full Force albums.

  • starry118 | November 16, 2012 11:20 PM

    LOL...yeah, they probably need to tweak the title...

  • ChgoSista | November 16, 2012 11:26 AM

    "Kids with Full Force albums."--> #death

  • Tambay | November 16, 2012 10:44 AMReply

    I'm confused by the statement BET released: "The viewers have spoken, and due to the overwhelming demand, Don't Sleep will now be expanded to a one hour show weekly format." I'm may not be a math wizard, but going from four 30-minute shows a week (or a total of 2 hours) to a one-hour weekly show is not "expanding." Unless I'm just missing something. But this isn't a shock. Recalling what I said back in October I think it was, when the show premiered, it doesn't seem to quite know what it wants to be, and who its audience is. Holmes is not a comedian, like say Bill Maher and John Stewart. He's a serious news guy. And BET should decide if it wants a serious news program, or something that would appeal to its younger demographic, which I think is what they were shooting for with "Don't Sleep." But that doesn't seem to have been working. Plus putting him up against "The Daily Show" (the exact same time slot) was probably just not a very good idea. I know lots of black people who are huge fans of "The Daily Show;" and to draw them away from that program to watch "Don't Sleep" (a show that just doesn't quite compare) was, we could say, unfair to Holmes from the start. What's the lead-in to 'Don't Sleep?" I know that "The Game" comes on right after. What comes on before and after tells us something as well.

  • Troy | November 20, 2012 3:44 AM

    Holmes takes the blame for the show not being informative. BET takes the blame for the show not being entertaining. Holmes has his eye on prestigious anchoring one day still. Maybe this failure will teach him how to fight not for anyone else but himself.

  • starry118 | November 16, 2012 11:23 PM

    ...totally agree with Tambay.

  • starry118 | November 16, 2012 11:22 PM

    I think the 1 hr format will improve the ratings...they need to make sure the show is polished though.

  • Donella | November 16, 2012 11:55 AM

    Poor leadership and ugly, weak character from BET, which means the show producer and the CEO.

  • ChgoSista | November 16, 2012 11:25 AM

    Tambay said it all...

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