Debra Lee Steps Down

BET is losing its longtime champion.
What We Know:
  • Lee’s last day at the company will be Monday, May 28. The news comes after Lee ceded day-to-day oversight of the African-American-focused cable network in November, with Scott M. Mills taking over as president. She is not being replaced.
  • Lee, who first joined BET in 1986 as its first in-house counsel, built BET to become the top African-American brand as the cabler is in more than 60 countries and reaches 125 million households.
  • She began her three-decade career at BET as its first VP and General Counsel in 1986, was promoted to President and COO in 1996 and she became Chairman and CEO in 2005.
  • Scripted series launched on Lee’s watch include Being Mary Jane, The Real Husbands of Hollywood, and In Contempt. She also oversaw the creation of “The BET Awards,” as well as the launch of the first festival weekend under the Viacom umbrella, The BET Experience.

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