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BET To Cut Back On ‘Don’t Sleep’ With T.J. Holmes

BET To Cut Back On 'Don't Sleep' With T.J. Holmes

O.K. I confess, I never watched an episode of the show. And I really don’t know much about this T.J. Holmes guy, except that he used to be an anchor on CNN, and women think he’s like really really hot.

But even hotness wasn’t enough to save his late night show, Don’t Sleep, on BET

The ratings numbers and viewership have not lived up to what BET was expecting, and BET’s CEO, Debra Lee, has announced that the show will move from being on the air every night at 11PM, to an hour, once a week on Wedensday nights.

The show premiered on October 1 with some 400,000 estimated viewers, and climbed up to almost a one million a week later. But after that, viewership has dropped like a rock, now averaging around  200,000.

According to Lee: “To be honest, the ratings haven’t been great in the past two weeks. Our audience always say they want this kind of programming, but they don’t show up.”

Oh I see, so it’s our fault.

BET also issued a statement saying: “The viewers have spoken, and due to the overwhelming demand, Don’t Sleep will now be expanded to a one hour show weekly format allowing for a more comprehensive discussion of the issues and events affecting the African-American community.”

However, I will say that one major reason why I never watched it was becaus I knew it wasn’t going to be on the same abrasive, cutting edge level as The Daily Show, or the no apologies, take-it-or-leave-it, go for broke approach of HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher – Two shows that Don’t Sleep was clearly hoping to be compared to.

I’m sure Don’t Sleep played it very safe and careful. But what’s the point? You can watch Jay Leno for that.

Did anyone watch it? What’s your take.

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"However, I will say that one major reason why I never watched it was becaus I knew it wasn't going to be on the same abrasive, cutting edge level as The Daily Show,…HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher…". How can you comment and compare on something you never watched. I loved the show and found it eye opening. It brought issues to light that I was not aware of. It dealt with real issues effecting Black America and perhaps this is the real reason that it was cancelled. Nobody wants to know what is really going on and we have a Black President to prove it….uh no.


I hate to say it, but as a black woman (who, incidentally is engaged to a product of interracial marriage), I didn't want to watch this show about "black issues" when the host is married to a white women. How you gonna jump ship & tell us "don't sleep"? Oh wait… I just checked, she's not white. Oops! LOL. Seriously, my bad. Hope it's not already canceled.


How can you comment on what you think/assumed a show was going to be about, and that's why you didn't tune in? I watched T.J. Holmes on CNN and I could tell that he was a well informed black man with much to say but not having the arena for which to say it in. He goes to BET so he can speak to his people and the only thing folks concentrated on his how handsome he is? That don't make no darn sense. It's a conundrum. He has to keep the show entertaining for those of you with a short attention span except for foolishness, but at the same time bring you hard hitting issues and information. How disgraceful of you to not even have taken the time to watch even One episode but you got the nerve to say you're not surprised it's cancelled. I guess not!


They need to change the time who is going to stay up that late to listen to news stuff. The show is goo but the audience they are aiming for just do not want to say up that late for that.
Let hope that when it comes back they do not have him doing stupid stunts to get ratings you know
how some networks get to their stars and tell them how to behave.


I know I'm late on this. I had watched a few episodes, but then they changed the schedule and didn't tell anyone — um, Hello! And I agree with Sergio regarding Lee's comments. What the Hell do they expect?! Three decades ago when BET was fresh, hot and new — and there were, maybe 10 cable channels available — and people were hungering for decent programming they barely gave any of their serious public affairs/talk/news programs a chance. … Hence, they lost a whole generation of viewers that have moved on to other channels and outlets for their news and entertainment. Someone please tell Ms. Lee it takes time to build a brand and attract viewers to something that's new to them. …Sadly, however, BET is really old news. TV One has done a much better job of filling the void for trying to improve on programming targeted at blacks. Too bad for TV One that they're not part of basic cable and are carried in too few markets.


I thought the show was excellent for BET it had Awsome guest

Wonderdul thought provoking questions. But it appears BET audience isn't ready for intelligent news which is sad. I'd it isn't booty shaking,cussing or singing they can't handle it.

Well it appears BET went to sleep by cutting back on this show.


The problem is the title DON'T SLEEP WITH TJ HOLMES. You've lost half the viewers (women) right there. LOL! Also, who watches news on BET. Who still watches BET?


I like the show, but I could not watch every day. Once a week is better. I think viewership will rise. Wish it didn't come on so late though. 9 or even 10 PM would be better.

Kandie Kizzez

T.J. Holmes is a knock off of Real Time with Bill Maher. Not original programming at all. Consequently, the people who wrote this show CLEARLY don't understand the black audience. I agree with you ALM, move it to TVOne or Aspire and have some black people actually work on making it newsworthy.


I really enjoy this show. My husband and I were wondering what happened when it didn't come on for the past few days. I will say that 11p is a little late for us to stay up during the week so mabe these new changes will make a difference. I'm glad its not canceled. We need more positive shows that the black community and all communities can rely on .

Ms. Mooks

T.J. Holmes is flat-out BORING. 'Nuff said. …and its on BET. Should I say more? They should get a comedian with political chops (Chris Rock?? DL Hughley?? Wanda Sykes?? No Mo'Nique. Tried that. Don't want to offend the audience with extreme yelling) After hours would be perfect–say 10/10:30 'n yes an hour show! And change the title of the show—Don't Sleep sucks! Matter of fact–a whole new network!! TVone would be a great choice.


I like the show…they've had interesting panelists and engaging discussions, and I think TJ does a good job facilitating them. The main problem, for me, was the short 30 min runtime. It was a bit frustrating to really get into a discussion, only to have it cut off after 15 mins. I think the 1 hr format, even if it's only one day per week, is much better than daily snippets of a show. I watch Bill Maher, but didn't compare this show to his…just appreciated it for what it was: a show that discusses issues relevant to the Black community in an engaging way. Also, I'm a fan of Issa Rae, but don't think that the comedy segment should be on this show. There's enough comedy in the guest interaction on the panel.


How you KNOW it wasn't 'CUTTING EDGE?'

You NEVER watched.

What a louse.

Methinks you got issues with Brown and Fair skinned People. Yet you have an affinity with White People?

typical socially engineered blackman. Why u even blog about Black thangs? We can tell by your fonts you KISS THE GROUND ON EVERYTHING WHITE.

lol, yeah, u got a scraggly something you running behind. self-hatred is a typical trait of the easily led.


The show is on the wrong network. It should be on TVOne. I would watch the show if it was on TVOne. Yes, I said it!


I watched it was just okay to me. Certainly not a bad show but there were definitely things that needed to be improved upon. It needed a chance to find its groove and work out the kinks. We are long last the days when network execs believed in their projects so much that they were willing to give it time to find an audience (wasn't Seinfeld an absolute flop until the 4th or 5th season?) I agree that TJ may not have been the best choice for this type of show.

If this show does fail I hope BET doesn't take it as license to continue to present it's viewers with shows that are low in entertainment value and high in debauchery (I have yet to forgive them for what they did to The Game) . Yes we want intelligent programming but Don't Sleep in its present incarnation may not have struck the right chord with audiences. Back to the drawing board.

D.C. Kirkwood

T.J. is the wrong person to host this show he is corny and boring. Next!!!!


"I'm sure Don't Sleep played it very safe and careful. But what's the point? You can watch Jay Leno for that."

If you didn't watch the show how could you write this? Where is the respect for journalism on this site?


I've never seen this show. However, I do record and watch W. Kamau Bell's FX show Totally Biased every week. If the BET show was trying to be in that sort of genre, then I'm guessing those who are saying they should've built it with a comedian instead of a serious news guy are probably correct.


I feel bad for TJ Holmes. He seems to be a pretty intelligent and nice person, and he's great as a serious news personality, but this type of show simply isn't the format that suits him. Like Tambay said, he's not a comedian, so attempting to mold him as one was a big mistake. Plus, scrutinizing and debating black conservatives is admirable, but we can get that sort of thing from Sharpton's show on MSNBC. Therefore, the show isn't breaking new ground. Hell, even David Allen Grier's now cancelled "Chocolate City" was better than "Don't Sleep."

Adam Scott Thompson

It's a business. You have to give "the people" what they want. In this case it's less news, more cooning. At the end of the day, BET is just a symptom — not the disease.


Here is my take:
He is very attractive, proved his worth on CNN and his show should be a success.
He had poor writers who failed to generate sticky topics.
I think I heard him whining on one show to a blog producer.
Nothing of worth can ever be launched on BET because they don't have the right guidance/foundation.


Haven't seen it because I don't have cable. Feel bad for T.J but I'm not surprised. It seems incredibly disingenuous though to say you didn't watch it because you "bet they played it safe" or wouldn't "be on the same level" as the other shows you presume it was meant to compete with. How can you deliver a postmortem without ever having seen the body? #weak


The best you could do is compare it to a white show? Is that all you think WE can aspire to be….a chocolate version of a white show? And your advice is 'to watch Leno'???? You need to go someplace else with that!


Doomed. The original show title was "Don't Sleep with TJ Holmes", which sounds like either a word of caution or an ABC sitcom. BET then shortened it to "Don't Sleep", i guess to appeal to "the kids". Kids with Full Force albums.


I'm confused by the statement BET released: "The viewers have spoken, and due to the overwhelming demand, Don't Sleep will now be expanded to a one hour show weekly format." I'm may not be a math wizard, but going from four 30-minute shows a week (or a total of 2 hours) to a one-hour weekly show is not "expanding." Unless I'm just missing something. But this isn't a shock. Recalling what I said back in October I think it was, when the show premiered, it doesn't seem to quite know what it wants to be, and who its audience is. Holmes is not a comedian, like say Bill Maher and John Stewart. He's a serious news guy. And BET should decide if it wants a serious news program, or something that would appeal to its younger demographic, which I think is what they were shooting for with "Don't Sleep." But that doesn't seem to have been working. Plus putting him up against "The Daily Show" (the exact same time slot) was probably just not a very good idea. I know lots of black people who are huge fans of "The Daily Show;" and to draw them away from that program to watch "Don't Sleep" (a show that just doesn't quite compare) was, we could say, unfair to Holmes from the start. What's the lead-in to 'Don't Sleep?" I know that "The Game" comes on right after. What comes on before and after tells us something as well.

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