BET bolsters exec ranks as shows grow


As it continues to ramp up its original programming slate, BET Networks said Tuesday that it also is beefing up its entertainment division with a slew of new hires and promotions, pinning senior vp stripes on Brett King and Robyn Lattaker-Johnson and tapping four other executives for vp posts.

King has been named senior vp scripted programming, overseeing all scripted programming for BET and straight-to-DVD projects in comedy and drama. He also is responsible for developing new scripted programming for primetime and all dayparts. King most recently was a development consultant for the Simmons Lathan Media Group, the production company of hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons, and before that was senior vp current programs at WB Network.

Lattaker-Johnson has been promoted from vp development to senior vp development, reality programming. She oversees the development and day-to-day production of all reality programming for BET and serves as a liaison with the creative community. She also takes pitches from producers and talent, packages shows, develops show formats and oversees the series from concept to creation. Before joining BET, Lattaker-Johnson was director of development for alternative programming and production at Sci Fi Channel.

Meanwhile, BET has named Sitarah Pendelton vp development, Audrey LaCatis Onyeike and Melanie Massie vps talent and Shaun Williams vp business operations.

LaCatis Onyeike is based in New York; the other executives are based in Los Angeles.

"As BET continues to deliver on its commitment on developing strong original programming, it is critical that we have individuals who bring creativity, innovative thinking and unique vision to the network," BET president of entertainment Reginald Hudlin said. "These talented executives are invaluable additions to our entertainment team."

BET developed its first slate of original series in 2005. More recently, it launched five originals this summer -- including "Baldwin Hills," "Hell Date" and the controversial "We Got to Do Better" -- all of which posted increases in their time periods compared with a year ago. Next up, BET is set to launch a total of 10 new series and specials in the fall.