Debra Lee
Title: President, BET Networks
Last Year: #74
Age: 54
Education: Brown, BA, Political Science; Harvard Law School, JD; Harvard (Kennedy School), MA, Public Policy

Why Her? Buzz and critical acclaim for scripted series Somebodies prove Lee’s instincts for original programming are on the money. She also upped BET’s news presence with heavy convention coverage, the launch of The Truth With Jeff Johnson and continuation of news specials. Aside from launching BET in the U.K. this year, Lee continued to push the network’s pro-social message with the Rap-It-Up HIV/AIDS awareness initiative and a voter awareness campaign.

Proud Moment: Visiting numerous sites around New Orleans as co-chair of the ’08 Cable Show, where she oversaw the cable industry’s hands-on efforts to help rebuild New Orleans.

Year Ahead:
With original programming gaining attention, Lee’s franchise building for programs like Baldwin Hills, Keyshia Cole and American Gangster should continue.

Favorite Food: Lamb

Favorite Music: R&B

Favorite Show Not on My Network: Dancing With the Stars

Last Book Read: Chasing Harry Winston

Favorite Part of My Job: The BET Awards

Best Business Advice Received: Keep revenues up, expenses down

I Wish One of My Kids Would: Go to Brown

Hero: My dad


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