ViacomCBS’s BET unit has formally launched BET Studios, with a pledge of offering equity ownership for Black content creators.
The principal partners are Kenya Barris, Rashida Jones and Aaron Rahsaan Thomas.
Barris is an award-winning writer, producer, and director who created the “ish” multiseries franchise (Black-ish, Grown-ish and Mixed-ish). Jones is an actress, director, writer, and filmmaker, known for her appearances on “The Office” and in the 2010 feature film “The Social Network.”
Thomas is a television, film screenwriter and producer who has worked on numerous CBS TV series.
“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.”
BET Studios will be headed by Aisha Summers Burke, who was recently appointed EVP/GM of the new venture.