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

Photo of Tambay A. Obenson By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act May 7, 2013 at 8:13PM

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.
10
Don't Sleep

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.

This article is related to: TV News


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