- The Washington Times - Monday, September 15, 2008

Hudlin exits BET

After three years as the entertainment president of Black Entertainment Television, Reginald Hudlin is leaving the channel, Variety reported Friday.

BET chairwoman and CEO Debra Lee described Mr. Hudlin’s departure as “a mutual decision we came to,” adding that he will “return to his entrepreneurial roots as an independent producer.”

Stephen Hill, executive vice president of music programming and talent for BET, will serve as interim head of entertainment while a search is conducted for Mr. Hudlin’s successor, Variety said.

Despite Mr. Hudlin’s departure, Miss Lee said she doesn’t expect any significant changes to the programming strategy and infrastructure he established at BET. However, a source close to BET said Mr. Hudlin had differences of opinion with Miss Lee about the direction of the network’s programming strategy.

Mr. Hudlin — director of the successful “House Party” franchise and later executive producer of “The Boondocks” alongside creator Aaron McGruder — joined BET in July 2005 with the mandate of putting more original programming on the channel. In a memo to BET staff on Thursday, Miss Lee credited Mr. Hudlin with overseeing the development of 17 of the top 20 highest-rated shows in the network’s 28-year history, including “Lil’ Kim: Countdown to Lockdown,” “American Gangster,” “Baldwin Hills,” “Sunday Best” and “Keyshia Cole: The Way It Is.”

‘Lost’ finds new homes

Two basic cable channels will begin their syndication runs with “Lost” this week but will present the popular ABC series in different ways.

G4 will strip the series weeknights at 9 p.m., while Sci Fi Channel will stack the show on Monday nights, according to Multichannel.com. Both networks scored deals with Disney-ABC Domestic Television last fall, securing rights to the show’s four existing seasons; its fifth year, which is slated to begin on ABC in January; and the series’ sixth season.

G4 began its “Lost” run on Sunday with the show’s acclaimed first-season pilot. Beginning Monday, the network will strip “Lost” weeknights at 9 p.m. with its interactive 2.0 application, which showcases pop-ups that give viewers character profiles, show trivia and commentary from the hit series’ creators.

During its fourth season, shortened by the Writers Guild of America, “Lost” ran a number of annotated episodes, a move ABC officials said was inspired by G4’s presentation of “Star Trek” in 2.0.

G4 also has set up a dedicated Web site, www.g4tv.com/LOST, to present additional special features, including an Interactive Episode Guide. The Guide will highlight the major events in each episode, a Daily Lost Trivia section presented in bar trivia style with 15 to 20 questions per episode, and a Next Episode box describing the upcoming episode, with date and airtime.

For its part, Sci Fi will stack four episodes of “Lost” each Monday night from 7 to 11 p.m. Additionally, Sci Fi has obtained the right to stream a limited number of episodes of “Lost” on SciFi.com, the most heavily trafficked destination for the genre on the Internet.

On tap today …

The Bonnie Hunt Show (noon, WRC-NBC4) — Oscar winner Cloris Leachman talks to the host about being the oldest contestant on the ABC reality hit “Dancing With the Stars” — with her dance partner, Corky Ballas — and about her new film, “The Women.”

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from Web and wire reports

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