BET Cancels ‘Don’t Sleep,’ T.J. Holmes A ‘Free Agent’

BET has canceled T.J. Holmes’ late night news/talk show Don’t Sleep just eight months after the program’s launch.

Holmes left CNN, where he was a weekend anchor, after signing a multi-platform deal with BET in December 2011. Don’t Sleep was developed to help him target black viewers, but was intended to be more along the lines of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart than the traditional journalism Holmes left behind at CNN. The show premiered on October 1, 2012, and aired Monday through Thursday at 11:00 pm.

However, the program failed to draw viewers. After a series high of 1 million viewers for its October 9 episode, Don’t Sleep averaged less than 400,000 viewers before being retooled into a weekly one-hour format on November 14, according to R. Thomas Umstead at Multichannel News. The last new episode of Don’t Sleep aired on December 19.

BET didn’t come right out and say that it had canceled the talk show until last Thursday.

Don’t Sleep delivered smart social commentary on significant issues important to African Americans with the nation’s most prominent thought leaders,” the network said in a statement. “BET remains committed to being a resource for our audience on issues that directly affect the African American community.”

Holmes told Journal-isms, “I will never, ever regret thinking that my heart was in the right place” by trying “to do something that was not being done in our community.”

Holmes added, “You learn from the mistakes, there are questions I 
should have asked, things that should have been cleared up.” The 35-year-old, who called himself “a completely free agent,” said reaching out to blacks through Don’t Sleep was an opportunity he would like to have again.

While there is currently no word on Holmes’ next step, it is possible that he could move to MSNBC, where he occasionally fills in as a substitute anchor. Holmes has appeared on NewsNation with Tamron Hall and Weekends with Alex Witt.

Are you disappointed that BET canceled Don’t Sleep? Do you think TJ Holmes should have stayed at CNN?