BET veteran will lead Washington’s WHUT

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In Washington, D.C., Jennifer Lawson’s successor as g.m. of Howard University’s WHUT-TV is Jefferi K. Lee, a 30-year TV veteran with 17 years at the D.C.-based cable network Black Entertainment Television. Lawson, who was the top program exec at CPB and PBS in the 1980s and ’90s, returned to CPB as program chief early this year.

Lee served as BET’s executive v.p. of network operations and programming and in other roles while the cable network expanded to 24 hours, added new channels, built a corporate campus in D.C., and went public on the stock market.

Since leaving BET more than a dozen years ago, Lee headed his communications consulting firm, Lee Productions, and, during the homeland security rush, served as chief exec of Bio-Defense Research Group Inc., in Columbia, Md., a maker of anti-pathogen ventilation systems.

Lee started working on local productions at Washington’s Gannett-owned CBS affiliate WDVM in 1979, moved to PM Magazine and became its associate producer in 1981. He joined BET in 1982 as network operations manager, added programming duties, was promoted to executive v.p. of network operations in 1992 and became executive v.p. of operations and technology in 1998. Lee was instrumental in launching the new channels BET On Jazz, BET International and BET Gospel, the company said.

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