Former longtime BET Networks Chairman and CEO Debra Lee will receive PromaxBDA’s 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award, the trade group said today. The news comes less than two weeks after Lee’s stepped down after a long run as chairman and CEO of BET Networks.
The award will be bestowed June 14 at the 2018 PromaxBDA Conference in New York.
“Debra L. Lee has been a trailblazer throughout her career, inspiring a generation of marketing and creative teams with her confident, compassionate and visionary leadership,” said Steve Kazanjian, President and CEO of PromaxBDA. “In a year when we are celebrating the theme of ‘real change’ at the PromaxBDA Conference, there is no one more fitting to receive our association’s highest honor than Debra L. Lee.”
Lee began her career with BET Networks as its first VP and General Counsel in 1986, was elevated to President and COO in 1996 and became Chairman and CEO in 2005. Her exit was final on May 28.
With Lee in charge, BET Networks remained the No. 1 network among African-American viewers for the past 17 years. Some of BET’s biggest success stories during her tenure include the 2014 debut of The Game, the most-watched sitcom premiere in cable TV history with 7.68 million viewers, and the 2017 hit miniseries The New Edition Story, which brought in 28.4 million viewers from the initial run through subsequent encores, making it the highest-rated TV biopic of all time.
Under Lee, BET also launched such signature programming as Being Mary Jane, The BET Awards, Black Girls Rock! and BET Honors.
PromaxBDA is the leading global association for entertainment marketing, promotion and design professionals. Its 2018 conference is set for June 11-14 at the New York Hilton Midtown.