The audience of the 2014 BET Awards, both at home and at the Nokia Theatre in downtown Los Angeles, will have a brand new host this year. It has been recently announced that comedian Chris Rock has been tapped to hold center stage at the event.
Rock is no stranger to hosting award shows. The actor and stand-up comedian played host for the Academy Awards and the MTV Video Music Awards on two occasions. Rock will take to the stage on June 29. The BET Awards caps off the BET Experience, a three-day music festival also happening in downtown L.A.
On picking up hosting duties at this year’s BET Awards, Rock said he is very happy for the honor and mentioned that he watches the awards on television every year. Every year, The BET Awards combines a mixture of predominately hip-hop, rap and R&B artists that include Beyonce, Pharrell Williams, Robin Thicke and Justin Timberlake.
In addition to his work as a stand-up comedian, Rock has been working in a variety of capacities in the entertainment industry. From his beginnings with small roles in movies like Beverly Hills Cop II and New Jack City, Rock has built a resume that includes numerous HBO comedy specials, producing the television sitcom Everybody Hates Chris and the documentary feature film Good Hair, as well as a brief stint on Broadway. The versatile performer has earned four Emmy Awards, three Grammy Awards and has a position on Comedy Centrals list of “100 Greatest Stand-Ups of All Time.” Hosting the BET Awards will be another item to add to his long resume.
The BET Awards is cable television’s most-watched award show, according to Nielsen ratings. As the most-watched cable awards program among the network’s key African-American audience, the telecast is the highest-rated show on BET’s programming slate. This year’s award show will be executive-produced once again by President of Music Programming and Specials for BET, Stephen G. Hill, who says the company had been trying for years to get Rock to host the award show. Hill calls Rock a comedic genius whose keen sense of humor and knowledge of popular urban culture will be a breath of fresh air and will keep audiences in the theatre and at home engaged and entertained.
A subsidiary of Viacom, BET Network reaches a reported 90 million households in the U.S. and other parts of the world. BET also has a multi-platform extension of its television unit with brand impressions online and mobile as well as on-demand projects and DVD products.
Among those receiving the most nominations for BET Awards this year are Beyonce, Jay-Z and Drake, each getting five nominations. The second most-nominated artists include Pharrell Williams and August Alsina, each getting four nods respectively. To bring the funny, comedian Rock says a good host pays attention to the audience and takes cues from the show. Being aware of what is going on all around, be it backstage, in the audience or behind the scenes is critical to tying every aspect of the show together and finding the spontaneous jokes as they occur.
By Hal Banfield