'06 BET AWARDS Stakes Claim as Cable's Top Awards Show by Again Flexing Impressive Muscle With Viewers


'06 BET AWARDS Stakes Claim as Cable's Top Awards Show by Again Flexing Impressive Muscle With Viewers

When BET Networks first launched an awards show concept in 2001, the telecast instantly became a hit with viewers. Tuesday's 2006 BET AWARDS show was no exception, scoring an impressive 4.92 rating within BET's coverage universe which translates to 6.6 million viewers (4.1 million households) watching the salute to superlatives in music, film and sports. Those numbers catapulted the BET Awards to the Number 1 position among cable telecasts of awards shows this season, topping the MTV Movie Awards, TV Land Awards and TNT's carriage of the Screen Actors Guild Awards. Among African-Americans, the '06 BET AWARDS now stands as the Number 1 cable telecast of all time with a gigantic 31.94 rating among Black households.

Tuesday's premiere is also the most-watched program in BET's 26-year history, tied with the 2005 BET AWARDS. Encore showings of the '06 BET AWARDS are set for Friday, June 30 8 p.m. ET/PT; and on Tuesday, July 4 at 8 p.m. ET/PT.

BET's lead-in and post-show programming also delivered impressive results. The 106 & PARK LIVE FROM THE RED CARPET pre-show cranked out a 1.7 rating (1.4 million households, 1.4 million viewers), easily its most-watched telecast in nearly five years. The BET NEWS BLACK CARPET wrap-up show sizzled with a 2.5 rating (2.1 million households, 2.9 million viewers) to become the most- watched BET News program over the past year.

"This show was filled with so many amazing performances and unforgettable moments, I would have trouble calling out my personal favorite," said BET Chairman and CEO Debra Lee. "For our viewers, this has easily become the most popular of all awards shows. It's a fantastic way for BET to celebrate the greatness of African-Americans."

BET President of Entertainment Reginald Hudlin added, "Have Prince and Stevie Wonder ever performed together in public before? No. Has Janet Jackson ever reunited with her Good Times cast before? No. Has Eminem ever rapped an exclusive verse just for a television show? No. These are just a few of the historical moments that happened on the BET Awards."

BET rolled out a star-filled affair featuring plenty of first-time winners and along side familiar faces. R&B legend Prince captured his first-ever BET Award in the category of Best Male R&B Artist; as did newcomer Chris Brown as Best New Artist; rapper T. I. for Best Male Hip-Hop Artist; and Kirk Franklin as Best Gospel Artist. Brown capped his BET Awards coming-out party by also landing the BET.com Viewers' Choice Award voted on both prior to and in real time during the telecast. This hotly-contested category generated an eye- popping 567,025 votes via the BET.com website, and another 115,616 text message votes through the new BET Mobile service.

Soulful diva Mary J. Blige was a two-time winner for Best Female R&B Artist and for Video of the Year (Be Without You) in a tie with rapper Kanye West's collaboration with actor Jamie Foxx on Gold Digger. The West-Foxx tandem also picked up BET hardware for Gold Digger in the Best Duet/Collaboration category.

Hosted by actor/comedian Damon Wayans, the night featured songstress Chaka Khan as BET Lifetime Achievement Award recipient; and actor/activist Harry Belafonte as recipient of the BET Humanitarian Award. BET also unveiled the first-ever BET 'J' Cool Like That Award, named for the re-launched channel formerly named BET Jazz. R&B crooner Anthony Hamilton was the inaugural winner of that honor.

The following is a complete list of winners from the 2006 BET AWARDS:

Best Male Hip-Hop Artist       T. I.
Best Female Hip-Hop Artist     Missy Elliott
Best Male R&B Artist           Prince
Best Female R&B Artist         Mary J. Blige
Best Gospel Artist             Kirk Franklin
Best New Artist                Chris Brown
Best Duet/Collaboration        Kanye West featuring Jamie Foxx (Gold
Best Group                     Destiny's Child
Best Actor                     Terrence Howard
Best Actress                   Taraji P. Henson
Male Athlete of the Year       LeBron James (Basketball)
Female Athlete of the Year     Venus Williams (Tennis)
BET 'J' Cool Like That         Anthony Hamilton
Video of the Year (tie)        Mary J. Blige (Be Without You)
 Kanye West featuring Jamie Foxx (Gold
BET.com Viewers' Choice        Chris Brown (Excuse Me Miss)


BET Networks, a subsidiary of Viacom, Inc. (NYSE: VIA)(NYSE: and)(NYSE: VIA.B), 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 81 million households according to Nielsen media research, and can be seen in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean. BET is the dominant African-American consumer brand with a diverse group of businesses extensions: BET.com, the Number 1 Internet portal for African Americans; BET Digital Networks -- BET J, BET Gospel and BET Hip Hop, attractive alternatives for cutting-edge entertainment tastes; BET Event Productions, a full-scale event management and production company; BET Home Entertainment, a collection of BET-branded offerings for the home environment including DVDs and video-on-demand; and BET Mobile, a service venture into the lucrative world of ring tones, games and video content for wireless devices.


SOURCE: BET (Black Entertainment Television)

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