BET programming president Stephen Hill and his top lieutenant are stepping down from the network, marking the latest transition in the management of Viacom-owned cablers.
Hill, an 18-year BET vet, announced his departure to staffers on Wednesday. BET also confirmed that exec VP and head of programming Zola Mashariki would exit along with Hill.
Connie Orlando, senior VP of specials, music programming and news, will head programming in the interim while BET searches for a successor for Hill.
The timing of Hill’s departure is surprising. BET on Tuesday launched a new drama series “Rebel” that had mostly favorable reviews (ratings were not immediately available on Wednesday) and traction in social media. In January, BET scored a big hit with its three-part miniseries “The New Edition Story.”
Hill has headed BET programming since September 2014. He joined BET in 1999 and moved up the ranks in various programming posts. He was the driving force behind BET’s music-related shows for years before taking the reins of all programming. Before BET, he spent four years as a programming exec at MTV. Last month at the Grammy Awards, Hill was caught on camera dancing during the tribute to Prince.