The fact that the series never did return after the Christmas holiday break, should’ve been a clue – especially when BET never addressed its absence from the network’s winter 2013 programming lineup (we inquired, but got no response from them nor Holmes); also the show’s social networking accounts (Facebook and Twitter notably) haven’t been updated since the start of the new year.
It’s unfortunate, but not at all a surprise. From the show’s debut, I was concerned with what seemed like a lack of an identity, as well as direction.
And when the network demoted the program to just a night a week, due to low ratings (from a series high 1 million for its debut episode to averaging below 400,000 afterward) I figured it was probably done.
Clearly there was an audience hungry for what they hoped the show would feed them, given the early high numbers; but they weren’t satisfied with what they eventually got, and quickly tuned out.
Recalling what I said when the show premiered, it didn’t seem to quite know what it wanted to be, and who its audience was. Holmes is not a comedian, like say Bill Maher and John Stewart (in an early press release, BET made comparisons to shows hosted by both gentlemen). He’s a serious news guy. And BET should’ve decided if it wanted a serious news program, or something that would appeal to its younger demographic, which I think is what they were shooting for. But the combo just didn’t work.
Plus putting him up against The Daily Show (at the exact same time slot) was probably not a very good idea, and was, we could even say, unfair to Holmes from the start.
In a statement, BET said Don’t Sleep:
… delivered smart social commentary on significant issues important to African Americans with the nation’s most prominent thought leaders. BET remains committed to being a resource for our audience on issues that directly affect the African American community.
Holmes, who left CNN in late 2011, and quickly signed a multi-platform talent deal with BET, which included hosting a new show on BET, as well as contributions to its website BET.com, will not be returning to BET for any future projects!
Holmes told The Root in a phone interview about the *break up*:
“I’m a completely free agent […] I will never, ever regret thinking that my heart was in the right place […] to do something that was not being done for our community. You learn from the mistakes, there are questions I should have asked, things that should have been cleared up [it is] an opportunity I would love to have [again].”
What’s next for Holmes? We’ll see. He’s done some subbing on MSNBC, so, in the meantime, I’d expect to see him moving around a bit, primarily within cable news networks most likely.
I won’t be surprised if another network snatched him up. He certainly has a sizable fans-base. Although I doubt he’ll get his own show on any of the major news networks, given that all available slots are currently filled. But I could see him heading something like a documentary news reporting series, similar to what Lisa Ling does on OWN, with her Our America with Lisa Ling docu-series program.
Maybe news is imminent… Hello TV One? Ok, so maybe not. But with a few new TV networks entering the marketplace, or recently entered the marketplace, maybe one of them can carve out a niche for itself, and appeal to a more *discriminating* adult black audience.
Might BET make another attempt at a news program? Probably not anytime soon. They’re doing very well with their current programming slate, with new hit shows like Real Husbands Of Hollywood, and Second Generation Wayans; there’s also The Game, as well as upcoming new scripted series starring Gabrielle Union and others.