Name: Debra Lee
Title: President/CEO, BET

 

Why Her? Filling Bob Johnson’s shoes was no task for a shrinking violet, and Lee continues to prove herself the woman for the job. During her tenure on top, she has begun to shape BET into a more thoughtful network by expanding its programming direction while attempting to shed negative stereotypes that have shadowed it for years. This year’s potent town hall-style “Hip Hop vs. America,” for one, provided a careful examination of the clashing views regarding the hip-hop movement within and without the African-American community. Lee is continuing to answer the challenge of balancing BET’s powerful music video-centric brand recognition with new and forward-looking shows that appeal to its target 18-34-year-old demographic. She’s overseeing arguably the most diverse lineup of original programming in the network’s history, including new reality series “Sunday Best,” which seeks to uncover the next big gospel singer, and coming-of-age ensemble “Somebodies.”  CAO


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