Achievement of the Year: Organized June’s One Love Manchester concert in 10 days, after a terrorist attack killed 23 people at client Ariana Grande’s concert there. Three months later, he pulled off a similarly ambitious telethon for hurricanes Harvey and Irma relief that raised a total $62 million.
The Past is Prologue: In the wake of the Manchester attack, Braun understood the need for a swift response. “My whole life I’ve known that kind of evil exists, because my grandparents are Holocaust survivors,” he said. “I wanted to react.” Braun worked with Grande to return to the U.K. city for a televised benefit concert that drew 14.5 million viewers and raised over $13 million for the Manchester Emergency Fund.
Industry Story of the Year: “I don’t care. There were other stories a lot more important than ours.”
New Edition and New Leadership: BET began 2017 on a historic note as the miniseries The New Edition Story became the highest-rated TV biopic of all time, with a combined audience of 29 million viewers. It ended the year with a similarly auspicious event: Lee, a 32-year veteran of the cable network, handed the day-to-day reins to new network president Scott Mills in December, and will take on more of an ambassador role at the company. “I’m really looking forward to helping out any way I can,” says Lee.
Strong Finish: BET finished 2017 with an 8 percent increase in year-over-year ratings among the key 18-49 demo, thanks to music programs like the BET Awards (5.8 million viewers), Soul Train Awards and Gucci Mane and Keyshia Ka’oir: The Mane Event, whose live wedding special drew over 2.2 million viewers. And the success of the New Edition program has spawned a sequel on the life of Bobby Brown.