Guest Star: "I Left Out Of The BET Awards 03 Thinking I Was Going To Get Fired" -Stephen Hill
Saturday, Jun 26, 2010 11:27AM
Looking at the past 10 years and going into another 10 years, the question of what can we do better is something we always think about. I remember our show last year, before Michael Jackson died everybody was looking and we kind of mapped the show out on a board. I looked and thought, "Wow, this is an incredible show. This is really the ultimate show."
And so, I'm always afraid that the board for the next year will not equal the previous year. And so I look at the board for this year, take out the Michael Jackson situation, this year's show is the strongest show we have ever had. The goal is that you want to have more people watch it next year than you had the previous year, you want the show to be more respected and liked at all times but when it comes to sheer star power and possibilities of amazing performances, I don't see how we top this year.
Luckily, I say that every year. Actually, let me share a funny story. In 2003, it was really my first year when I got to oversee the whole thing. We had Michael Jackson and James Brown, Snoop Dogg and Pharrell, Beyonce did "Crazy In Love" that year, R. Kelly, Jam Master Jay performances, all this stuff took place that year and I remember during the show there were small technical things that went wrong that I now know that everyone at home hadn't saw but I left out of there thinking, I'm gonna get fired.
I thought those issues were so bad that I was going to get fired. Literally, this is such a true story. I wounded up going, "Oh my gosh, I'm so going to get fired." I kept thinking it didn't come off well and I went to the after party at the Highlands because that show was at the Kodak Theater and I went to the party and just thought, "I gotta go take my lickings," and I'll never forget walking towards Bob Johnson and thinking, "Here it comes," and Bob Johnson says in one breath, "Wow, that show was absolutely amazing, the best show I've ever seen, I have no idea how you're gonna top it next year." In one breath! Basically it was like, "I loved it, I can't expect you to top it."
So the truth is, there are some things I would like to add to the show. I look at other shows, I'm a show guy and I've liked shows and live performances since I was six years-old. And what I've really been inspired by is the writing from a recent show I saw and it made me jealous. It made me say, "Wow, I want to make sure our writing is so on point like that show." It was serious, there was humor, there was intelligence to the writing on that show which we have on ours but it was a different kind of spin on it. I'm very focused on the writing of our show and how we put it together. I think we're good, but I saw something masterful.
I hope we get an opportunity to incorporate it into this year's show, but if not, then definitely in next year's show. I always want to improve the BET Awards in some way.
Stephen Hill is Executive Vice President of Entertainment and Music Programming for BET (Black Entertainment Television)