T.J. Holmes makes transition from news desk to late night with “DON’T SLEEP!” on BET

By Lynda Jones

T.J. Holmes

Many remember T.J. Holmes as a news desk anchor on CNN, and may wonder what happened to him. Well, the suspense will officially be over when his new late night show debuts on Monday, Oct. 1 from 10:00-10:30 p.m. central time on BET.

The show entitled, “DON’T SLEEP!”, Holmes will deliver smart, biting social commentary on significant issues important to African Americans. Guaranteed to shake up lat night, “DON’T SLEEP!” presents and tackles current headlines that affect our community while also creating awareness about vital stories that mainstream media tends to disregard. Airing Monday through Thursday, “DON’T SLEEP!” is also infused with a team of correspondents injecting perspective, humor and commentary about a wide range of topics. This talk show will be focused on keeping Black America engaged, awake and in the know.

T.J. Holmes is an award-winning journalist and respected television personality who is highly regarded in the African American community. Prior to BET, Holmes was the weekend anchor for CNN, securing some of the first stories from the survivors of the US Airways flight that crash landed in the Hudson River in 2009. In addition, he covered the first presidential debate between Sen. John McCain and then-Sen. Barack Obama at the University of Mississippi, brought us stories from the shooting on the Virginia Tech campus, and reported from Ground Zero during the September 11 attacks.

Holmes recently spent a few minutes talking about his new show with The Courier. Asked how he found his way to BET he responded, “Well, I was speaking at an event and several BET executives were in the audience, including BET CEO, Debra Lee. They were able to see a side of me that was not visible as a news desk anchor for CNN. When you are dealing with news, you are a bit restricted, and your full personality does not come out. While hosting this particular event they saw more of “T.J.”, and they liked what they saw.”

Shortly after, the talks of Holmes doing something on BET began.

Holmes says that he wants to tackle so many topics that do not get addressed for African Americans on television anywhere else. Topics such as the alarming high school dropout rate of African American males that of course often leads to incarceration of too many Black males.

Holmes also plans to introduce an array of subjects; life style, news, education, politics and show a side of African American culture that does not get seen anywhere else on television.

He was a little mysterious on some of his upcoming guests, but promised not to disappoint. Holmes will be joined by executive producers Madeleine Smithberg and Sarah North of Mad Cow Productions, which will produce the late night strip for BET audiences. Smithberg, an Emmy and Peabody award-winning producer, is the co-creator and former show runner of ‘The Daily Show with John Stewart’, producing more than 100 episodes for the Emmy award winning series.

Check your local listings for the new series on the BET Network, in Milwaukee it will debut at the 10:00 p.m. slot.

For more information on “DON’T SLEEP” go to BET.com/DontSleep.