T.J. Holmes' 'Don't Sleep' cuts back on airings; BET exec says viewers 'don't show up'

theGRIO REPORT - When T.J. Holmes left CNN to host his own show on BET, 'Don't Sleep', some called it a risky move while the network's viewers seemed to be excited...

Luther Vandross was outed as gay after his death.

When T.J. Holmes left CNN to host his own show on BET, Don’t Sleep, some called it a risky move, while the network’s viewers seemed to be excited.

Holmes saw it as an opportunity to “reach out and report on stories that directly affect the African-American community.”

Unfortunately, the viewership has not lived up to hype.

Holmes’ show combines comedy, news and commentary not unlike The Colbert Report and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

Don’t Sleep airs in the 11 pm time-slot and drew 400,000 viewers on to its October 1 premiere.

The October 9th episode drew 1 million viewers, but since then, it has slipped to as low as 203,000.

“To be honest, the ratings haven’t been great in the past two weeks. Our audience always says they want this kind of programming, but they don’t show up,” said Debra Lee, BET’s CEO.

theGrio’s 100: T.J. Holmes, News anchor leaves CNN for BET

As a result, Don’t Sleep will now be on for one hour once a week, instead of every night.

BET released a statement saying, “The viewers have spoken and due to the overwhelming demand, Don’t Sleep will now be expanded to a one hour weekly format allowing for a more comprehensive discussion of the issues and events affecting the African-American community,”

“We will now have an hour-long format to educate, empower, and engage.  This will allow us more time to delve deeper into topics and determine how we can all, in our own way, be agents of change,” Holmes wrote on his website. “As part of being extended to an hour, the show will move to Wednesday nights at 11 p.m.  This will allow us to do on-location reporting from cities and communities across the country.”

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