BET veteran Stephen Hill promoted to president of programming

BET veteran Stephen Hill promoted to president of programming
BET's newly appointed president of programming Stephen Hill at the LA Live campus in June. (Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times)

BET Networks have named BET veteran Stephen Hill as its president of programming, signifying an apparent change in leadership strategy for the cable network that targets African Americans.

Hill, who has been at BET for more than 15 years and most recently was president of music programming and specials, will succeed Loretha Jones, who departed in September following a six-year stint as head of original programming, news and development.

In the newly created position, Hill will oversee original programming, music programming, specials and BET news divisions. He will report to Debra L. Lee, chairman and CEO of BET Networks, and will continue to be based in New York.

Hill has been credited with developing one of BET's most popular shows, "Real Husbands of Hollywood," a mock-reality series starring Kevin Hart.

His appointment may indicate a change in direction for the network, which had brought in two Hollywood insiders to help BET become more prominent in the crowded network arena.

Jones, who was a former movie exec and producer, was instrumental in developing BET's first scripted drama, "Being Mary Jane," which is preparing to return for a second season.

Her predecessor, Reginald Hudlin, who was a director and writer when he was brought in to BET as president of entertainment in 2005, was fired in 2008 despite an aggressive programming agenda.

Twitter: @GeBraxton