Mike Epps to Host the BET Hip Hop Awards ’09’

betgg12BET Hip Hop Awards ’09 returns to primetime this fall with actor/comedian Mike Epps as the new host. Taping on Saturday, October 10 at the Boisfeuillet Jones Atlanta Civic Center in Atlanta, this exciting annual special will once again celebrate the biggest names in the game, on the mic and in the community. The BET HIP HOP AWARDS ’08 was full of non-stop, mind-blowing performances, talented lyricists and incomparable collaborations and with this year’s crowning tagline “And We Don’t Stop…,” BET plans to relive it all again, plus more. Premiering on the network on Tuesday, October 27 at 8:00 p.m.*, additional performers, nominees and show talent will be announced later next month.

“We are VERY happy to be coming back to ‘The A’ for the fourth go at the BET Hip-Hop Awards,” said Stephen Hill, President of Music and Programming, BET Networks. “We embrace the opportunity to amplify all aspects of the hip-hop culture; the music, the dance, the sense of community and as we have before, we expect to do so with excitement…and with my man Mike Epps on board as our new host, we’ll do it with reckless abandon. And we don’t Stop.”

Standup comedian turned actor, Mike Epps got his first big break performing on HBO’s Def Comedy Jam, and soon parlayed his popularity into big screen success with co-starring roles in Ice Cube features like “Next Friday” (2000) and “All About the Benjamins” (2002). The Indianapolis native stood out in Hollywood and has maintained a string of both comedy and dramatic roles on the silver screen. Epps’ most recent work includes “The Hangover” (2009), “Next Day Air” (2009), and “Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins” (2007). Epps will star in Showtime’s one hour standup comedy special, Mike Epps’ “Under-rated and Never Faded-Live from Detroit” premiering on Saturday, October 3. Fans should also look out for Epps’ first hip hop comedy album, “Funny Bidness”, featuring collaborations with Snoop Dogg, Kid Rock and Slim Thug. “Funny Bidness” will be available in stores on Tuesday, October 27 — the same day as the premiere of THE BET HIP HOP AWARDS ’09.

Last year’s BET HIP HOP AWARDS drew an impressive 2.1 rating, which translated into 3 million viewers and was the #1 hip hop themed telecast on TV for the third consecutive year, according to Nielsen Media Research. The BET HIP HOP AWARDS ’08 was full of non-stop, unbelievable performances, talented lyricists and incomparable collaborations. Lil Wayne, T.I., Nas, Keri Hilson, Keyshia Cole, Ludacris, Nelly, N.E.R.D., Ice Cube, Rick Ross, Soulja Boy, Bow Wow, Ne-Yo, Swizz Beatz, 50 Cent, Russell Simmons and many other top name celebrities were all a part of last year’s celebration.

This year, BET once again teams up with Cossette Productions, the famed producers of the GRAMMY Awards and the seven record-setting BET AWARDS shows, to handle production of the telecast. Stephen G. Hill, BET President, Music and Programming, along with Lynne Harris-Taylor, BET Vice President of Specials, are executive producers of the telecast.

For more on THE BET HIP HOP AWARDS ’09 please visit us at BET.com.

Tickets for THE BET HIP HOP AWARDS ’09 are by invite only and not available for purchase.

Interested media outlets, who would like to cover the BET Hip Hop Awards red carpet arrivals, should visit the BET PR website at www.bet.com/pr for important information on how to properly submit your media credentials request. The media credentials deadline to submit requests is Friday, October 2, 2009.

*All times ET/PT

About BET Networks

BET Networks, a division of Viacom Inc. (NYSE:VIA) (NYSE:VIA.B) , 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 98 million households and can be seen in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, the United Kingdom and sub-Saharan Africa. BET is the dominant African-American consumer brand with a diverse group of businesses extensions: BET.com, 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 Home Entertainment, a collection of BET-branded offerings for the home environment including DVDs and video-on-demand; BET Mobile, which provides ringtones, games and video content for wireless devices; and BET International, which operates BET in the United Kingdom and oversees the extension of BET network programming for global distribution.