Praise for The Billion Dollar BET
"In a gripping narrative that is both inspirational and cautionary, Brett Pulley
tells us how Robert Johnson built Black Entertainment Television into a billion-dollar media empire. In a remarkable feat of reporting, without Johnson's cooperation, Pulley shows what it really takes to get ahead in America today, and in doing so provides as valuable a cultural as business history."
—James B. Stewart Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and bestselling author of DisneyWar, Den of Thieves, and Heart of a Soldier
"Like or dislike? Agree or disagree? Bob Johnson's richly varied and fascinating life presses you against the window that Brett Pulley
—Bernard Shaw retired CNN anchor
“Through his BET network, Bob Johnson reached the pinnacle of capitalism, the billionaire boys club, in the spirit of legions of driven, American moguls . . . Veteran business journalist Brett Pulley
peels back the layers of this fascinating and complex entrepreneur.”
—Teri Agins Senior Special Writer, the Wall Street Journal, and author of The End of Fashion: How Marketing Changed the Clothing Business Forever
The first-ever in-depth look at one of the greatest business stories of our time A true heavyweight in the star-studded world of media entertainment, Robert Johnson, the creator of Black Entertainment Television (BET), turned a revolutionary idea and a USD15,000 personal loan into a multibillion-dollar empire. As one of the richest black men in America as well as its first black billionaire, Johnson's success with BET has been a social examination into both race and capitalism with his many detractors holding him to a higher standard of cultural responsibility from which his competitors are exempt. Engaging and informative, The Billion Dollar BET skillfully examines Johnson's humble origins, his dogged and inspired climb to the top, and his often controversial tenure at the helm of one of the most influential media outlets in the country. This book takes readers on a fascinating journey, beginning with Johnson's days in rural Illinois, his graduate life at Princeton University, and his role as a cable industry lobbyist on Capitol Hill.
The Billion Dollar BET also details how Johnson courted media titans such as John Malone and Sumner Redstone and convinced them to play vital roles in BET's success. Readers will also learn how BET quickly spread across the country and took on far greater social significance than even Johnson ever imagined. Filled with revealing anecdotes and never-reported details of Johnson's life, his business philosophy, and the world inside BET, this story will teach readers even more about business, race, and themselves. Brett Pulley
(New York, NY) is a Senior Editor at Forbes magazine, where he writes primarily about the media and entertainment industries. He has authored several cover stories including the 2001 Forbes 400 on Robert Johnson. Prior to joining Forbes, he covered economic development, politics, and was a national correspondent for nearly five years at the New York Times . He also spent five years as a correspondent at The Wall Street Journa l, where he wrote extensively on business and race.
is a Senior Editor at Forbes magazine, where he writes primarily about the media and entertainment industries. He has authored several cover stories including the 2001 Forbes 400 on Robert Johnson. Prior to joining Forbes in September 1999, he spent five years at the New York Times, where he covered economic development, politics, and was a national correspondent. He also spent several years as a correspondent at the Wall Street Journal, writing extensively on business and race. His front-page feature for the Wall Street Journal on the black-owned company, Johnson Products, won a first-place award from the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ). He received a second NABJ award for a feature written for Savoy magazine, where he served as a contributor. He has also written for several other publications, including USA Today and Emerge magazine. He is a frequent guest on many television programs, providing commentary and insight on media and entertainment news and issues. Pulley currently lives in New Jersey with his wife and two young daughters.