My Take: TJ Holmes Leaving CNN For BET

CNN weekend anchor TJ Holmes announced Sunday that he would be leaving the network. Sources now say that Holmes is headed to BET.

The network plans to build a new show around the 34 year old news personality. Holmes has not commented on the situation.

According to a press release by BET, “the deal with Holmes includes a new show on BET as well as content on BET.com in which he can bring his many talents to some of what BET says it regards as ‘the most important and interesting stories’ for their audience.

The move comes as quite a surprise to many, including me. Black Entertainment Television is certainly no utopia for intelligent African-American programming.  Rather, its become a wasteland of negative black stereotypes and monthly “Baby Boy” re-runs (Tyrese isn’t complaining). Can TJ Holmes help change that? BET hopes so. They signed the personality to a multi-year deal. The press release BET put out doesn’t even say if the show they are developing for him will be news, entertainment or some mix of both. And since BET has been known as a channel where fans seem to resist watching news programming, I’m not sure what he would gain by going there.

Holmes joined CNN in October 2006 and anchors the weekend edition of “CNN Newsroom” on Saturday and Sunday mornings. At the summer NABJ convention, Holmes joked about “the weekend ghetto” that he feels black anchors at CNN, like Don Lemon. are assigned to. Being relegated to Weekend Mornings with no promise of promotion or movement would make me want to leave as well. While weekday morning shows have grown over the years, weekend mornings is still a tough spot. They also weren’t giving him opportunities at special coverage and feature pieces that lived outside of his time slot.

This move will certainly raise his exposure among celebrities and black audiences. Going to an entertainment network ups his profile significantly.  We’ll probably start to see him on covers of magazines, hosting awards shows, etc. But will it help his career as a journalist? Not so much.

Only time will tell if this move will be a success for Holmes and BET or another failure by the network.

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