Former BET Chief Debra Lee Joins AT&T Board

Debra Lee at the Ebony Power 100 Gala on the Beverly Hilton Hotel on November 30, 2018 in Beverly Hills, CA. (Credit: Deposit Photos)

Debra Lee, former chairman and CEO of BET Networks has joined AT&T’s board of directors, the company announced Monday.

“Debra’s outstanding leadership, deep expertise and strong track record in the entertainment and media industry will be terrific additions to our board of directors,” Randall Stephenson, AT&T chairman and CEO, said in a press release.

Lee previously worked at BET Networks for 32 years. She joined BET in 1986 — before Bob Johnson sold the network to Viacom — as its first in-house counsel. She rose to president and COO in 1996, before being elevated to chairman and CEO in 2005. Lee stepped down from the company last year.

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Among her signature accomplishments was the network’s acquisition of The Game. The dramedy, which originally aired on UPN, launched on BET in 2014 and became the most-watched sitcom premiere in cable TV history, with more than 7.5 million viewers.

In 2017, The New Edition Story was also a major hit, bringing in more than 28 million viewers between its premiere and encore airings. Lee also oversaw the launch of and developed BET Her. In addition, she oversaw the creation of the BET Awards.

She served on Twitter’s board for the past three years.

Last year AT&T finalized an $85 billion deal to acquire Time Warner. As part of the deal, AT&T picked up Warner Bros., HBO, Turner, HLN and CNN.