ViacomCBS launches new BET Studios for black content

The first-of-its-kind venture offers equity ownership for black content creators

By Melissa Kasule 21 Sep 2021

ViacomCBS launches new BET Studios for black content

BET, a unit of ViacomCBS, is launching a new television and film studio to represent and nurture black content creation, offering black owners equity ownership in the development. 

ViacomCBS is investing more than $300m in the studios, which will host series and films for both inhouse and external outlets, including Paramount+, Showtime, CBS, Nickelodeon, BET+ and BET.

Newly-appointed executive VP and general manager of BET Studios Aisha Summers-Burke will partner with the likes of Kenya Barris, Rashida Jones and Aaron Rashan Thomas to bring the vision to life. She will also be responsible for the BET Studios content slate and focusing on growing the studio’s production output across both internal and external platforms.

“The demand for premium content from Black creators has accelerated dramatically as a result of both the rapidly changing media and social landscapes. BET, with our 40-year legacy of celebrating black culture, and the full power of the ViacomCBS ecosystem—is uniquely positioned to service this demand,” said BET president Scott Mills. “As a company with its origin in black entrepreneurship, we are incredibly excited to create the first major studio to provide black creators with ownership, creative freedom and the unparalleled partnership and support of BET.”

Barris adds: “The investment being made by Scott, David Nevins, Bob Bakish and the ViacomCBS team into BET Studios is not only an investment in black storytelling, it is also an investment in the culture. And while individual success is great, being able to amplify and champion underrepresented storytellers has been equally exciting and this venture allows that to continue to be a key focus in this next chapter of my career.”


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