BET Networks helds its annual upfronts presentation this week, and one piece of significant news is that the network is diversifying the largely white male late-night talk show space with a new series featuring an African-American female host, Robin Thede! Chris Rock will be among the executive producers for the Daily Show-like series, which will debut this fall.

There are quite a few changes for the network on the horizon, including a few notable ones. BET will also be launching a new biopic franchise in the wake of its record ratings for January’s The New Edition Story and renaming BET’s sister network for African-American women, as BET Her.

“We’ve tried different things in late night, and one thing we’ve discovered is our audience wants to laugh,” BET Networks Chairman and CEO Debra Lee said. “They don’t want to deal with really heavy issues; they want to laugh and go to bed happy. We thought Robin Thede fits that role. The time is right for a late-night show directed at our audience, and Robin’s the kind of fresh, young talent that we need to have.”

Thede is an comedic actress, writer, sketch and improvisational comedian. She is the former head writer for Comedy Central’s one-time late-night series, The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore. Prior to that, she was head writer on The Queen Latifah Show and staff writer on the first two seasons of Real Husbands of Hollywood on BET. In January 2013, she appeared in the Marlon Wayans’ comedy A Haunted House. Thede’s recent television appearances include roles on Key & Peele, Hot In Cleveland, Comedy Central’s Chocolate News, NBC’s Kath & Kim, and All of Us. She was also a series regular on the BET original web series Buppies with Tatyana Ali.

Congrats to Robin Thede! We are sure her extensive comedy experience will translate well into this new role!

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Tonja Renée Stidhum is a screenwriter/director with cheeks you want to pinch... but don't (unless she wants you to). She is made of sugar and spice and everything rice... with the uncanny ability to make a Disney/Pixar reference in the same sentence as a double entendre.

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