DAR TV: The 10 Most Important Shows In BET Network History

By @TrueGodImmortal 

BET is one of the premier networks on cable for our people,  with a long and storied history. Over the years, we've seen a large number of great programs (and not so great programs) grace the network. Today, I wanted to take a look back at the network history and the most important shows that were broadcast. You might except to see a few shows that don't make the list like The Game, Cita's World, Midnight Love, and more, but they didn't have the impact and importance of these shows. Let's take a look at the 10 most important shows in BET Network history.

*BET Comicview 

-Probably the most prolific show in the history of the network, Comicview is one of the longest running shows in TV history and featured some of the biggest comedians in the world before they became the legends that they are. From Don "DC" Curry to Sommore to D.L. Hughley to Gary Owen and even Cedric The Entertainer to an extent, this show was responsible for helping to launch careers into another dimension. Stand up comedy has been a regular in the culture and once Def Comedy Jam was long gone, Comicview filled in for it, keeping the art of comedy alive and well and making new stars in the process also.

*Hits From The Street 

-Another show that was iconic during the peak period for BET was Hits From The Street. With Al Shearer in the lead role on the show as the host "Hits", the show was one of the more interesting programs where it was centered around music, but you'd see the host interview random people on the street and that was always entertaining for the most part.

*BET Uncut 

-One of my favorite shows to come from the network, this show was hilarious for all the right and wrong reasons. Full of mostly softcore porn and cheap made music videos, BET Uncut was there to help independent artists before YouTube became popular. The amount of videos shown throughout the duration of the show are endless, but if I had to pick out a few random video choices to illustrate how hilarious this show could be, I'd pick classics like the infamous Black Jesus and the grainy classic "What That Thang Smell Like" video, of course the classic Nelly "Tip Drill" video and the uncensored version of Chingy's "Right Thurr", as well the ridiculous DJ Slim and his "Pussy Licker" video, along with BET Uncut alumni Joker The Bailsbondman and his video for "Let Me See Your Ass Drop", and two of my personal comedic favorites, Mighty Casey's "White Girls" ("Don't tell Minister Farrakhan" is the funniest line ever) and the classic "No Panties (On The Dance Floor)" by Waxamillion. All in all, if you needed some laughs or eye candy, or a bit of both, BET Uncut had you covered.

*Access Granted 

-Going behind the scenes of a music video became amazing to watch due to this show. While music videos seemed to be glamorous to an extent or a day of fun, a lot of artists dispelled this myth by showing the hectic schedule of shooting a full length music video. Over the years, we watched the strenuous hours of a video shoot, what it took to get the artist accommodated and the entire process. This was big because it let you into a part of the process you didn't think you'd see as frequently. Access Granted was big for the network and for hip hop and R&B.

*106 And Park 

-The most iconic show from the network featured Free and AJ running down our favorite music videos and interviewing the best artists in the game. Over the years, the show became the black version of TRL, surpassing them in popularity so to speak and lasting longer than anyone expected. The show was geared towards kids and teenagers, which allowed their after school timeslot to appeal to the intended demographic. While other hosts like Rocsi, Terrence J, Bow Wow, and others would take on the hosting duties down the line, the best moments from the show came in the performances and the interviews, with my favorite being the infamous Cam'ron and Jay-Z interview where the vibe was awkward and somewhat tense. That interview is one of the most interesting and funniest to ever happen and it certainly was one of the most vital to 106 during that era. While 106 lost relevance as the internet age took over, the legacy of the show is never lost or forgotten.

*American Gangster 

-While might think Midnight Love or another show deserved this spot, this is one of the best that BET has ever showcased on their network. A documentary series based around the lives of the toughest and most notorious gangsters in the USA, the Ving Rhames narrated program showcased infamous names like Nicky Barnes, Freeway Ricky Ross, Supreme, Frank Lucas, Guy Fisher, Rayful Edmond, Larry Davis, and many more. The show really brought you into the underworld and showcased what made these men as notorious as they are. It was the first show of its kind on BET, which is why it was so important.

*Teen Summit 
(11 Seasons, 1989-2002)

-One of the most engaging shows on BET, Teen Summit is legendary. It was a show that spoke directly to the issues that affected teenagers and provided an outlet for the teens to speak their minds. It was an attempt to provide a show that gave a new outlook for teens and brought more positivity to the light for our community. While a show like this wouldn't be as promoted today, it's probably needed just as much if not more in the present. With hosts like Belma Johnson, Lisa Johnson Smith, Ananda Lewis, DJ Cocoa Chanelle, and more helping to steer the ship, Teen Summit was a joy to watch and a huge landmark program for BET in their younger days.

*Video Soul 

-If there was ever a show that really set the tone for BET going forward, this was the one. My favorite host of this show was Donnie Simpson, though I also liked the vibrance Sherry Carter brought to the show. There were a lot of iconic moments that came on this show and surprise guests always seemed to pop up from time to time. My favorite moment is the infamous New Edition interview that everyone refers to as being tense, as we got to see the group in their element reunited. Video Soul isn't recognized as much as it should be, but it is one of the biggest landmark shows in the culture period.

*College Hill 
(2004-2009, 7 Seasons)

-While I was never the biggest fan of the show, but to deny the impact of this show is criminal. It was one of the original reality shows that spoke to the teenage to young adult demographic in our community. Based around life in HBCUs, this Babyface produced reality show was entertaining to the intended audience and it influenced the future of black reality shows IMO. The show would have record ratings for the network, making it one of the most successful throughout the tenure of the program and it even birthed a small spinoff as well. College Hill was a show that many enjoyed and it was a well done reality show before the overkill came to our networks.

*Rap City

-My all time favorite show on BET without question. Hosted by Big Tigger, this show was the rawest form of hip hop on the network throughout the duration of the show. It was initially created to be the alternative to Yo! MTV Raps, but would also include up and coming rappers instead of just the most popular ones. Big Tigger is the most infamous host of the show and the face of Rap City, but he wasn't the only host. Joe Clair, Chris Thomas (otherwise known as the Mayor of Rap City), and the final host Q-45 as well. My favorite part of the show? The freestyle booth. Artists would get in the booth and spit out their best lyrics while the host either hyped them up or sometimes rapped as well. It was a true staple of the show and freestyling is always a true staple of hip hop, so there's no way that you could talk BET and the most important shows without talking Rap City. It's the biggest link BET has to hip hop. Period.



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