Founded by former cable industry lobbyist Robert Johnson, Black Entertainment Television launched as a programming bloc on another relatively young cable channel, Nickelodeon. The line-up began as a mix of music videos and syndicated repeats, with the mission of targeting primarily African-American audiences and featuring African-American talent. By 1983, BET had established a full foothold on cable, soon creating original news, variety, and scripted programming. Now a Viacom-owned network and ubiquitous on American cable systems, BET expanded its brand with several off-shoot channels in the late 2000s. -A.D.
Also on January 25:
1949: The first Emmy Awards are presented, in a ceremony at the Hollywood Athletic Club. The first awards given out by the nascent Academy of Television Arts & Sciences focused exclusively on programming produced and aired in the Los Angeles market.
Today’s Birthdays: Ernie Harwell, sportscaster (d. 2010); Diana Hyland, character actress (d. 1977); Mia Kirshner, writer (38); Christine Lakin, tomboy (34); Dinah Manoff, eldest daughter (55); Edwin Newman, newsman (d. 2010); Ana Ortiz, big sister (42); Gregory Sierra, cop (72); John Terry, character actor (63).