November 5, 2008

Actress Nia Long and Funny Man Chris Spencer Join Forces to Host BET J’s First Ever VIRTUAL AWARDS Premiering on November 25 at 8:30 P.M. ET

WASHINGTON, Nov. 5 /PRNewswire/ -- BET J bridges the worlds of music and virtual reality to bring viewers its first ever awards show, the BET J VIRTUAL AWARDS, slated to premiere on BET J on Tuesday, November 25 at 8:30 p.m. ET, followed by an encore online broadcast at 10:00 p.m. ET on Hosted by critically-acclaimed actress Nia Long and comedian Chris Spencer, the "virtual" broadcast will feature red-hot performances from Washington, DC, New York and Atlanta hotspots -- all from a stunning, ground-breaking virtual environment!

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The BET J VIRTUAL AWARDS perfectly blends the "traditional" awards show with today's cutting edge technology. The star-studded special will showcase an esteemed lineup of 16 nominee categories that pay homage and accolades to today's music newcomers and veterans, as well as other celebrities making unprecedented moves in film.

BET J also gives viewers an opportunity to showcase their own musical talent by performing their own rendition of one of the five nominated songs in the special user-generated "My Time Online" category. Beginning Wednesday, November 5 - Wednesday, November 12, viewers can log onto to upload their videos which will be judged by a celebrity panel of judges. The winner will be presented with their own BET J VIRTUAL AWARDS statuette and have their acceptance speech air during the awards show.

BET J will also air programming specials leading up to the highly-anticipated premiere of the first-ever virtual awards show. The VIRTUAL AWARDS RED CARPET SPECIAL hosted by Claudia Jordan and Tears Shears Beauty icon Derek J, brings viewers behind-the-scenes awards show footage, celebrity glam, and the red carpet hits and misses through colorful and hilarious commentary premieres online on Tuesday, November 25 at 5:00 p.m., followed by an 8:00 p.m. broadcast premiere. BET J's flagship SOUL SESSIONS will also feature a special episode honoring the VIRTUAL AWARDS nominees, and will include the nominees' music videos in a specially-created virtual environment to premiere on Wednesday, November 12 at 6:00 p.m.

Created by Bart Phillips and directed by Jonathan X, BET J's first ever VIRTUAL AWARDS is executively produced by Paxton Baker, Executive Vice President of BET J and President & General Manager of BET Digital Networks and BET Event Productions, and Bart Phillips, Sunseeker Media; and produced by Tami Willis-Arasli, Vice President of BET J Production and Junia Joseph, Sunseeker Media.

Following is a complete list of nominee categories for the BET J VIRTUAL AWARDS show:

   Album of the Year:   -- Alicia Keys,  As I Am, J Records   -- Angie Stone, The Art of Love and War,  Stax / Concord Music Group   -- Erykah Badu, New Amerykah, Pt.1 (4th World War),  Universal Motown      Records   -- Chaka Khan, Funk This, Burgundy Records   -- Lenny Kravitz, It's Time for a Love Revolution, Virgin Records America   -- Raheem DeVaughn, Love Behind the Melody, Jive Records/Zomba Label      Group     Song of the Year:   -- American Boy, William Adans, Keith Harris, Josh Lopez, Spier Caleb,      Estelle Swaray, Kanye West   -- Honey, E. Badu, F. Baskett, Patrick Douthit, C. McDonald, D. Shields   -- Just Fine, Phaton Alexander, Mary J. Blige, Terius "The-Dream' Nash,      Christopher Stewart   -- Love Revolution, Lenny Kravitz, Craig Ross   -- Teenage Love Affair, Josephine Bridges, Carl Hampton, Alicia Keys,      Harold Lilly, Tom Nixon, Jack Splash   -- Woman, Raheem DeVaughn, C Thompson     Virtual Video of the Year:   -- Common, Drivin Me Wild   -- Erykah Badu, Honey   -- Solange, I Decided   -- Robin Thicke, Magic   -- T Pain, Can't Believe It   -- Wyclef Jean, Fast Car     Soul Approved - Best New Artist:   -- Algebra, Kedar Entertainment   -- Chrisette Michele, The Island Def Jam Music Group   -- Estelle, Home School/Atlantic Records   -- Jennifer Hudson, Arista   -- Solange, Geffen/Music World Entertainment   -- Terrence Howard, Columbia Records     Jazz Artist:   -- Chris Botti, Columbia Records   -- Harry Connick Jr., Columbia Records   -- Patti Austin, Rendezvous Entertainment   -- Stanley Clarke, Roxboro Entertainment Group   -- Tony Bennett, Columbia Records   -- Wynton Marsalis, Blue Note Records     Contemporary Jazz Artist:   -- Al Jarraeu, The Concord Music Group   -- Dianne Reeves, The Blue Note Label Group   -- Herbie Hancock, The Verve Music Group   -- Kenny G, The Concord Music Group   -- George Duke, BPM Records   -- S.M.V.-Stanley Clarke, Marcus Miller and Victor Wooten, S.M.V. LLC     Best Gospel Artist:   -- BeBe Winans, Koch Records   -- Mary Mary, Columbia Records   -- Israel & New Breed , Integrity Media, Inc   -- Kirk Franklin, Fo Yo Soul/Gospo Centric/ Zomba   -- Marvin Sapp, Verity Records/ Zomba Gospel   -- Trin-I-Tee 5:7, Spirit Rising Music/Music World Entertainment     Best Caribbean Artist:   -- Alison Hinds, RCG/ Black Coral/ 1720 Entertainment   -- Elephant Man, Bad Boy Records   -- Fay-Ann Lyons, VP Music   -- Machel Montano, Ruf Rex Productions LTD. / Xtatik LTD   -- Morgan Heritage, VP Music   -- Mavado, Greensleeves Records     Best Underground Artist:   -- Conya Doss, Album: Still; Song: What I'd Do; Label: Conyadoss Music   -- Eric Roberson, Album Left ...; Song: Pretty Girl; Label: Blue Erro      Soul   -- Heston, Album: Storyteller, Song: No Way, Label: Worldsoul Records   -- Liv Warfield, Album Embrace Me; Song: Groove DJ; Label: B&M   -- Rahsaan Patterson, Album: Wine and Spirits; Song:  Stop Breaking My      Heat; Label: Artistry Music   -- Vikter Duplaix; Album: Bold and Beautiful; Song: Make A Baby; Label:      BBE     Male Artist of the Year:   -- Common, Geffen Records   -- John Legend, G.O.O.D Music/Columbia Records   -- Lenny Kravitz, Virgin Records America   -- Raheem DeVaughn, Jive Records/Zomba label Group   -- Terrence Howard, Columbia Records   -- Wyclef Jean, Columbia Records     Female Artist of the Year:   -- Alicia Keys, J Records   -- Chrisette Michele, The Island Def Jam Music Group   -- Estelle, Home School/Atlantic Records   -- Jill Scott, Hidden Beach Recordings   -- Ledisi, The Verve Music Group   -- Janet Jackson, The Island Def Jam Music Group     Live Performer of the Year:   -- Erykah Badu   -- Gnarls Barkley   -- Mike Phillips   -- The Roots   -- Raheem DeVaughn   -- Wyclef Jean     Best Film:   -- American Gangster, Director: Ridley Scott; Producers: Brian Grazer and      Ridley Scott   -- I Am Legend, Director: Francis Lawrence, Producers: Akiva Goldberg,      David Heyman, James Lassite and Neal H. Moritz   -- Meet the Browns, Director: Tyler Perry and Producer: Reuben Cannon and      Tyler Perry   -- The Great Debaters, Director: Denzel Washington, Producers: Todd Black,      Kate Forte, Joe Roth and Oprah Winfrey   -- Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins, Malcolm D. Lee and Producers: Charles      Castaldi, Mary Parent and:  Scott Stuber     Best Actor:   -- David Man, Meet the Browns   -- Denzel Washington, The Great Debaters   -- Denzel Washington,  American Gangster   -- Derek Luke, Lions for Lambs   -- Martin Lawrence, Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins   -- Will Smith, I Am Legend     Best Actress:   -- Angela Basset,  Meet the Browns   -- Halle Berry, Things We Lost In the Fire   -- Jill Scott, Why Did I Get Married   -- Jurnee Smollett, The Great Debaters   -- Loretta Devine, This Christmas   -- Ruby Dee, American Gangsters     The Journey Award - Lifetime Achievement Recipient    ABOUT BET J  

BET J, a subsidiary of Viacom, Inc. , is a sophisticated digital network infused with innovative and original programming featuring a unique mix of music, culture and style embracing the Black experience. It is the premiere destination for a multicultural audience delivering music from all genres along with movies, riveting talk, concerts and in-depth interview shows. BET J keeps viewers talking with exciting original programs such as: CARMELO'S WAY, LEADING MEN, URBAN CUISINE and REAL LIFE DIVAS, and is currently viewed in over 32 million households and growing.

About BET Networks

BET Networks, a division of Viacom Inc. , is the nation's leading provider of quality entertainment, music, news and public affairs television programming for the African-American audience. The primary BET channel reaches more than 87 million households according to Nielsen Media Research, and can be seen in the U.S., Canada and the Caribbean. BET is the dominant African-American consumer brand with a diverse group of business extensions:, a leading internet destination for Black entertainment, music, culture, and news; BET Digital Networks -- BET J, BET Gospel and BET Hip Hop, attractive alternatives for cutting-edge entertainment tastes; BET Event Productions, a full-scale event management and production company; BET Home Entertainment, a collection of BET-branded offerings for the home environment including DVDs and video-on-demand; BET Mobile, a service venture into the lucrative world of ring tones, games and video content for wireless devices; and BET International, an extension of BET network programming for global distribution.

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BET Networks

CONTACT: Lyntina Townsend of BET Networks, +1-202-608-2745,[email protected]

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