Traci Blackwell Exits As BET Head Of Scripted Programming

Traci Blackwell Exits As BET Head Of Scripted Programming

EXCLUSIVE: Traci Blackwell has stepped down as EVP, Scripted Programming for BET Networks after a year and a half, a network spokesperson confirmed to Deadline. A replacement will be announced shortly.

Based in Los Angeles and reporting to BET Networks President Scott Mills, Blackwell led development, casting and current of original scripted programming for the BET linear network and the company’s SVOD service, BET+. The position was created in late 2019 amid a scripted expansion — both on the linear network and the SVOD service — fueled by several creative partnerships, most notably with Tyler Perry who has generated a slew of new series for BET and BET+.

Mills announced Blackwell’s departure in a company email Tuesday afternoon, which also included a message from her. In the memo, Mills noted that “BET leads the industry in the creation of Black scripted content by volume.” The network’s 14 scripted series in 2021, including series from Tyler Perry, Will Packer, Tracy Oliver, Lena Waithe, Tracey Edmonds, Carl Weber and more, represents a BET record for the most scripted series commissioned.

“The only thing more impressive than the volume of series the team has delivered, is the incredible quality of each series. We salute Traci and our team of incredibly creative professionals for this remarkable contribution to BET and the industry at large,” Mills said. “We have been tremendously fortunate to have had her leadership, and we are grateful that she leaves us very well positioned for the future.”

In her note, Blackwell spoke of the timing of her tenure, which started in November 2019, just a couple of months before the start of the pandemic.

“I am very appreciative to Scott for the incredible opportunity to lead Team Scripted as we worked to produce an unprecedented amount of scripted content for the BET brand,” she said. “While 2020 and Covid-19 proved to be challenging, to say the least, the BET family worked tirelessly and selflessly.” (Read Mills and Blackwell’s emails below.)

Before joining BET, Blackwell served as SVP of Current Programs at the CW where she oversaw the day-to-day creative production for such series as Supergirl, Jane The Virgin, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Black Lightning, Roswell: New Mexico, Legacies, and All American. Blackwell’s TV programming credits also include Supernatural, Vampire Diaries, The Originals, Dynasty, The Carrie Diaries, Hart of Dixie, The Messengers, Life Unexpected, Beauty and The Beast, Containment, Frequency, One Tree Hill, 90210, Everybody Hates Chris, The Game, Girlfriends, Eve, and Half and Half. She started her career at UPN where she worked on the production of successful sitcoms The Parkers and Moesha.

In 2018, Blackwell was awarded the Humanitas Prize “Voice For Change” Award, making her the first person to ever receive the honor.

Here is Mills’ memo:

Greetings Team!

Our friend and colleague, Traci Blackwell, will be leaving BET this month. Traci has done fantastic work leading BET’s Scripted Programming Team during one of the most challenging periods in production history – the COVID-19 pandemic.

And, a lesser known fact is that BET leads the industry in the creation of Black scripted content by volume—in fact, we’ve brought forth 14 scripted series in 2021 alone; including series from Tyler Perry, Will Packer, Tracy Oliver, Lena Waithe, Tracey Edmonds, Carl Weber and more. Never before has BET commissioned this many scripted series.

The only thing more impressive than the volume of series the team has delivered, is the incredible quality of each series. We salute Traci and our team of incredibly creative professionals for this remarkable contribution to BET and the industry at large.

We have been tremendously fortunate to have had her leadership, and we are grateful that she leaves us very well positioned for the future.

We will be announcing new leadership of the scripted team shortly. In the meantime, please see a personal message from Traci below.

Please join me in thanking Traci for the profound impact she leaves on our brand and wishing her even more success in her next endeavors, while we lend our full support to our Scripted team members throughout this transition.

Regards,
Scott

***

Dear BET family,

During my time here, I’ve been blessed to work alongside the most amazing colleagues and team. I am very appreciative to Scott for the incredible opportunity to lead Team Scripted as we worked to produce an unprecedented amount of scripted content for the BET brand. While 2020 and Covid-19 proved to be challenging, to say the least, the BET family worked tirelessly and selflessly. Being in the trenches with such amazing people who showed up daily and who I have had the privilege to also learn from, has been the most remarkable part of this journey. To my team: You are the ABSOLUTE BEST!! I am proud of the impact we’ve made on our talent partners and thankful to have worked with some of the most inspiring creators and executives in our business. I want to thank all of the many departments and their leaders across the BET house for your unyielding support of the scripted team and the culture to which we all serve with gratitude and honor. I salute you and wish you all good things in the future.

With love and blessings,
Traci

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