BET Officially Cancels 'Don't Sleep!' And T.J. Holmes Moves On...

Television
by Tambay A. Obenson
May 7, 2013 8:13 PM
10 Comments
  • |

The fact that the series never did return after the Christmas holiday break, should've been a clue - especially when BET never addressed its absence from the network's winter 2013 programming lineup (we inquired, but got no response from them nor Holmes); also the show's social networking accounts (Facebook and Twitter notably) haven't been updated since the start of the new year.

It's unfortunate, but not at all a surprise. From the show's debut, I was concerned with what seemed like a lack of an identity, as well as direction. 

And when the network demoted the program to just a night a week, due to low ratings (from a series high 1 million for its debut episode to averaging below 400,000 afterward) I figured it was probably done.

Clearly there was an audience hungry for what they hoped the show would feed them, given the early high numbers; but they weren't satisfied with what they eventually got, and quickly tuned out.

Recalling what I said when the show premiered, it didn't seem to quite know what it wanted to be, and who its audience was. Holmes is not a comedian, like say Bill Maher and John Stewart (in an early press release, BET made comparisons to shows hosted by both gentlemen). He's a serious news guy. And BET should've decided if it wanted a serious news program, or something that would appeal to its younger demographic, which I think is what they were shooting for. But the combo just didn't work.

Plus putting him up against The Daily Show (at the exact same time slot) was probably not a very good idea, and was, we could even say, unfair to Holmes from the start.

In a statement, BET said Don’t Sleep:

... delivered smart social commentary on significant issues important to African Americans with the nation’s most prominent thought leaders. BET remains committed to being a resource for our audience on issues that directly affect the African American community.

Holmes, who left CNN in late 2011, and quickly signed a multi-platform talent deal with BET, which included hosting a new show on BET, as well as contributions to its website BET.com, will not be returning to BET for any future projects!

Holmes told The Root in a phone interview about the *break up*:

"I'm a completely free agent [...] I will never, ever regret
 thinking that my heart was in the right place [...] to do something that was not being done for our 
community. You learn from the mistakes, there are questions I 
should have asked, things that should have been cleared up [it is] an opportunity I would 
love to have [again]."

What's next for Holmes? We'll see. He's done some subbing on MSNBC, so, in the meantime, I'd expect to see him moving around a bit, primarily within cable news networks most likely.

I won't be surprised if another network snatched him up. He certainly has a sizable fans-base. Although I doubt he'll get his own show on any of the major news networks, given that all available slots are currently filled. But I could see him heading something like a documentary news reporting series, similar to what Lisa Ling does on OWN, with her Our America with Lisa Ling docu-series program.

Maybe news is imminent... Hello TV One? Ok, so maybe not. But with a few new TV networks entering the marketplace, or recently entered the marketplace, maybe one of them can carve out a niche for itself, and appeal to a more *discriminating* adult black audience.

Might BET make another attempt at a news program? Probably not anytime soon. They're doing very well with their current programming slate, with new hit shows like Real Husbands Of Hollywood, and Second Generation Wayans; there's also The Game, as well as upcoming new scripted series starring Gabrielle Union and others.

Television
  • |

More: TV News

You might also like:
Free Indie Movies and Documentaries    

10 Comments

  • dee | May 8, 2013 4:40 PMReply

    never got a chance to see the show...it was on one day and suddenly the season was over?

  • jeni | May 8, 2013 4:40 PMReply

    BET seems to be the place where smart media personalities go to die. I'm not including comedians in that statement. I'm sure he'll make a comeback in mainstream news or come out with something web-based that he can control without outside interference.

  • Black Canseco | May 8, 2013 3:39 PMReply

    BET continues to be an embarassment... Not that Don't Sleep was great (it wasn't) but they didn't even try to support it. I mean, if you're serious about a talkshow, you give it 2 seasons to get its footing and find its voice and rhythm. Secondly, you spend more than $19.95 on production. Everything on BET just looks so bootleg. Most web series have better production values nowadays than what BET shovels out (The Game included)...

    That said, I had issues with Don't Sleep. TJ is not a spoken word poet, and his little spoken word pieces while nice in sentiment, often came off as corny. He woulda been better off bringing in a quality poet for a week-long "residence" to handle that segment.

    Also, I think he's a good anchor. I don't know if news is his passion, but he has a confidence and swag that works well delivering the news. I'm all for him doing more anchor work.

    He was a voice for radio tho.

  • getthesenets | May 8, 2013 10:16 AMReply

    said this when show premiered and will say it now

    when obama was running the first time.....dl hughley and david allen grier had political humor type shows...and after the election....both shows went off the air

    what made people think that the fate of this show would be any different?

    Black man running for national office is only time that any of these types of shows get any type of ratings......once that is over with....ratings predictably drop.


    Wonder why the S&A posts about the show dance around this truth.?

    Has nothing to do with the show's identity.....the comedic talents of the host...or the format....it's a hard sell to get people to care about what they generally don't care about.

    And by people I don't mean "Black people" but "tv viewers"

  • that dude | May 8, 2013 12:23 AMReply

    The audience for a serious news show has long abandoned BET. And DON'T SLEEP was a terrible name for anything. And do people think he's a star?

  • ALM | May 7, 2013 11:56 PMReply

    He needs to head for OWN or TVOne. His hiring will be the best decision that Oprah or Cathy Hughes has made in a long time.

  • NEHES BA RE | May 8, 2013 5:21 PM

    i think you're right... i knew when they gave him a 30 minute late night spot that the show was DESTINED to fail... but VIACOM knew what they were doing... maybe an earlier slot like 8p.m. for an hour would have been better

  • jeftcg | May 7, 2013 10:10 PMReply

    Sounds like Holmes went to BET with serious intentions, then found out what a bunch of vision-less, grinning idiots they all are over there. Sorry for Holmes, he'll bounce back.

  • And | May 8, 2013 6:30 AM

    "grinning idiots"...lol...nobody grins more than T.J....that's what dude is known for...he's probably grinning in a mirror right now...lol

  • Teddy | May 7, 2013 8:56 PMReply

    I tried t tune in in support of BET getting serious programming, but the timing wasn't right. I wish they'd spent more time on certain subjects, especally when they discussed issues with the celebrity panel. But Holmes is sure to get some work soon. He's too appealing not to.

    Side Note: Second Generation Wayans got picked up for another season? I'm surprised. IT wasn't funny as RHOH

Follow Shadow and Act

Email Updates

Most "Liked"

  • Minority Independent Producers Summit ...
  • T.D. Jakes' Expanding Media Empire Includes ...
  • Film Adaptation Of 'A Day Late And A ...
  • John Legend Sets Up Independenlty-Financed ...
  • Fox Picks Up "International 'Bad Boys'-Style" ...
  • Film Based On Convicted African American ...
  • Watch The 'Half of a Yellow Sun' Title ...
  • 'Andrew Dosunmu: Elsewhere - 10 Years ...
  • Films By Abderrahmane Sissako & Philippe ...
  • New Original Feature-Length Doc - 'Kobe ...