*NEW YORK – BET Networks, the nation’s leading provider of quality content for African-American audiences, announced today that Connie Orlando has been appointed as the new Executive Vice President, Head of Programming for BET Networks.
Orlando will lead Original Programming, Music Programming & Specials, and the BET News teams responsible for creating, developing, and producing content across the network. She will report to Debra L. Lee, Chairman and CEO of BET Networks, and will split her time between Los Angeles and New York.
With Orlando at the helm as interim Head of Programming since the Spring of 2017, BET remains a Top 20 Cable Network and the #1 Network for the African American audience. Moving into Viacom’s new fiscal year on October 1, BET’s ratings are up for the 3rd consecutive month (+28%) driven by late-night comedy fare*. The network’s programming strategy will shift this Fall to lean into that trend and emphasize edgy comedies, such as “50 CENTRAL” starring Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, “FACE VALUE” from Executive Producer Wanda Sykes and “THE RUNDOWN WITH ROBIN THEDE” from Executive Producer Chris Rock.
Orlando was most recently the Senior Vice President of Specials, Music Programming and News at the network, and held the role of Vice President of Original Programming prior to that position. She serves as the Executive Producer for all of the network’s tentpole events, including the iconic “BET AWARDS,” the #1 Program in Cable Television history among African American viewers and a Top 10 Awards Show on television amongst Total Viewers. She successfully introduced the brand-defining tentpole “BLACK GIRLS ROCK!” and oversaw the critically-acclaimed specials covering social justice issues in Ferguson, MO and Baltimore, MD. Additionally, she ushered BET into the documentary space with the “BET TRUTH SERIES,” which produced multiple award-winning projects in its inaugural year: “Katrina 10 Years Later,” “Muhammad Ali: The People’s Champ” and “Stay Woke.”
“Having worked with Connie for the past 10 years, I continue to be impressed and inspired by her creativity and passion for the BET Brand” said Debra L. Lee, Chairman and CEO, BET Networks. “During her tenure at BET, Connie has played a critical role in the network’s largest expansion into original programming. She is beyond qualified and ready for this new challenge, and I am thrilled to have her in this role.”
Prior to joining BET Networks, Orlando ran her own full service production company, CMO Productions, Inc. During that time she served as Executive Producer of award-winning director Hype Williams’ Big Dog Films and partnered with music icon and businessman Jay-Z to produce the first-of-its-kind, direct-to-video movie soundtrack The Streets Is Watching.
“BET is an iconic brand that celebrates the influence and power of black culture through its content. I am honored to lead the network’s commitment to authentic, fresh and bold programming,” said Connie Orlando. “We will continue to expand our reach, relevance and impact through strong original content, returning hits and specials. With our talented teams, we’re ready to take BET Networks to higher heights.”
Orlando is a graduate of Syracuse University, and a proud native of Jamaica Queens, New York.
*Source: Live + Same Day | QTD (6/26/17-9/6/17) vs. YAGO; August (7/31/17-8/27/17) vs. YAGO | BET Total Day (Mon-Sa 8a-4a/Su 9a-12a), All Other Ad-Supported Cable Nets Total Day as expressed in Nielsen platforms | All Rankers Exclude Kids, Sports and News Ad-Supported Cable Networks, along with Ad-Supported Cable Networks that do not program 50% of 24 Hour Total Day | All Ranks unless otherwise stated based on Impressions (000).
About BET Networks
BET Networks, a subsidiary of Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ: VIA, VIAB), is the nation’s leading provider of quality entertainment, music, news and public affairs television programming for the African-American audience. The primary BET channel reaches more than 90 million households and can be seen in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, the United Kingdom and sub-Saharan Africa. BET is the dominant African-American consumer brand with a diverse group of business extensions: BET.com, a leading Internet destination for Black entertainment, music, culture, and news; CENTRIC, the first network designed for Black women; BET Digital Networks – BET Gospel and BET Hip Hop, attractive alternatives for cutting-edge entertainment tastes; BET Home Entertainment, a collection of BET-branded offerings for the home environment including DVDs and video-on-demand; BET Event Productions, a full-scale event management and production company with festivals and live events spanning the globe; BET Mobile, which provides ringtones, games and video content for wireless devices; and BET International, which operates BET in the United Kingdom and oversees the extension of BET network programming for global distribution.
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