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Alumna Named Head of Scripted Programming at BET

Traci Blackwell head shot
Traci Blackwell, MA ’14 was named head of scripted programming at BET. File photo/J Squared Photography/The CW

Traci Blackwell, MA ’14 was named executive vice president of scripted programming at BET Networks, a position created as the network ramps up its inventory of original shows, according to Deadline.

In her new role, Blackwell will oversee the development and casting of new scripts, partly through partnerships with Tyler Perry, Lena Waithe, and Will Packer, Deadline said.

Blackwell, a 2017 EVVYs Alumni Award of Distinction winner, previously was senior vice president of current programs for the CW Network, where she oversaw creative production of shows including Golden Globe and Peabody Award winner Jane the Virgin, and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, which won a Golden Globe and multiple Emmys. Other CW programming credits include The Carrie Diaries, One Tree Hill, 90210, and Everybody Hates Chris.

Prior to the CW, she worked in programming at UPN.

Blackwell has been named to Essence Magazine’s Hollywood Hot List, the NAACP’s Top 10 Industry Impact Players, and Ebony Magazine’s Power 100 list, and she won the Black Women Film Network’s Pinnacle Award for her work in TV. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English from Spelman College.

In 2017, Blackwell told Emerson Today she was “honored and humbled” to receive the Alumni of Distinction Award, and credited Emerson with preparing her for a successful career in entertainment.

“Because Emerson is a college that’s focused on media and communication and preparing students for work and careers in that area… I found the instruction I got, the mentorship I got, the information I got was just more useful,” said Blackwell, who earned an MA from the Communication Studies Department.

She said at the time she had three major professional goals: to “continue to participate in the process of making great TV,” to be a voice for people of faith in the entertainment industry, and to continue to promote and advance diversity and inclusion in the field.

Last year, Blackwell became the first person to receive the Humanitas Prize “Voice for Change Award,” according to Deadline, and has been active in a number of boards and organizations that support diversity and inclusion, including Colour TV, the American Black Film Festival, Morehouse College’s Cinema, Television, and Emerging Media Studies (CTEMS) program, and the Black Women Film Network.

“Helping people get breaks, helping more women and people of color move into the space, is incredibly important,” Blackwell said in 2017, “and that includes all levels of diversity and inclusion. All those voices, including LGBT … need to be represented in television.”

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