What’s Debra Lee Doing to BET?

BET President and Chief Executive Officer Debra L. Lee — Robert L. Johnson’s longtime right hand — has set her plan in motion to restructure the network’s programming. BET has long been known — and often criticized — for its content, which has always included heavy doses of music videos and comedy. Lee now says she will focus on developing more original programs. “That’s going to be my emphasis. We’ve got 24 hours to program with,” she says. The network recently hired filmmaker Reginald Hudlin as president of entertainment charged with heading up this task. Lee also brought on a new vice president of development, responsible for strengthening the network’s presence in Hollywood. On tap for next season is a new reality show, Ultimate Hustler, starring hip-hop impresario Damon Dash. The network is also looking to get back into the moviemaking business, Lee says. — K. Terrell Reed

Ground breaking begins next month for a $225 million renovation of New York’s Harlem Hospital. Five murals, housed in buildings slated for demolition, will be preserved. Valued at $1 million, the murals will be reinstalled in the lobby of a new pavilion, scheduled for completion in the fall of 2009. The city is financing the renovation, but the $3 million cost of preserving the murals will come from private funds. — Patrice D. Johnson

Baseball fans may soon enjoy more than hot dogs and beer during games. Sweet Unity Farms is in talks to supply several Major League Baseball parks with coffee through a partnership with Levy Restaurants. The company was founded 10 years ago by a cooperative of 47 Tanzanian families and David Robinson, son of legendary baseball player Jackie Robinson. The cooperative now boasts 300 families.

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