- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 10, 2017

After three and a half decades in Washington, D.C., cable TV’s most prominent African-American-focused cable network is packing its bags for the Big Apple.

Viacom-owned BET is consolidating its operations in New York City and will completely shut down its offices in the nation’s capital, The Hollywood Reporter said Wednesday, citing memos from BET’s CEO Debra Lee. 

“About 20 full-time salaried employees will be impacted by the move, with their future at the cabler currently unclear,” said THR. “Lee, in her internal memos, noted that department heads and managers will connect with staffers to discuss individual options. An estimated 40 freelancers are also said to be impacted by the move. Employees were not told whether they could transition to New York or Los Angeles or if they would be laid off outright.”

For her part, THR reports that Ms. Lee is relocating to Los Angeles, where BET also has offices, listing her D.C. home for $11.5 million.

BET’s move to close D.C. operations should not come as a complete shock, however.

In April, Bisnow.com reported BET was close to a deal to sell its office complex in Northeast Washington for about $15.2 million.

Since it was acquired by Viacom in 2000, BET has “moved many of its operations to Viacom properties in New York, Atlanta and California,” Bisnow reported at the time.

The last day for the D.C. office’s operations will be July 7, according to THR.

• Ken Shepherd can be reached at kshepherd@washingtontimes.com.

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