Following last year’s news that Loretha Jones exited the President of Original Programming position at BET Networks, which was later followed by the appointment of Stephen Hill as President of Programming, BET has now announced the hiring of Fox Searchlight veteran, Zola Mashariki, to the network’s Executive Vice President and Head of Original Programming position, which will see her in charge of both scripted and unscripted programming, reporting to President of Programming Stephen Hill, who reports to Debra L. Lee, Chairman and CEO of BET Networks.
With Hill based in New York, Mashariki will stay in LA.
Mashariki, who has had a long career at Fox Searchlight, leading the production team there, began her tenure at Fox Searchlight in May 2000 as a production intern, was upped to Creative Executive in January 2001, and to Director in November 2003. Amongst the lengthy list of titles she has worked on are Bill Condon’s “Kinsey,” Jim Sheridan’s thrice Oscar-nominated “In America,” Denzel Washington’s “Antwone Fisher,” “Le Divorce,” starring Kate Hudson and Naomi Watts, “Never Die Alone,” starring DMX and David Arquette, “The Clearing,” starring Robert Redford, Helen Mirren and Willem Dafoe, “Phat Girlz,” starring Mo’Nique, director Mira Nair’s “The Namesake,” Chris Rock’s “I Think I Love My Wife,” “The Last King of Scotland,” “The Notorious B.I.G.” and more.
The news of her BET appointment comes on the heels of the network’s 2015 Upfronts presentation, during which it revealed a slate of new original series, movies, and news specials, set for debut next TV season.
As I’ve said before, it’s an exciting time for content producers, distributors and exhibitors, as TV networks battle each other for your eyeballs, in a rapidly evolving, if uncertain entertainment landscape. For an idea of just how competitive it’s gotten, read my piece on the number of TV pilots starring black actors that were ordered for 2015-2016 consideration.