“Something that drives me crazy is that we are not talking enough about the graduation rates of young black men in this country,” Holmes told TV critics at Summer TV Press Tour 2012, as a for instance.
“We are literally losing a generation of young men…When you talk about half of the African American men in this country aren’t graduating from high school, why that’s not a crisis and we are not in crisis level about that is beyond me.”
Holmes said he hopes President Obama and presumed GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney will appear on the show, which is set to launch in October, as well as ‘big time athletes,” actors, and musicians, but also people in communities, like “a black dentist from Atlanta, a black surgeon from Los Angeles.”
Holmes was quick to shut down comparisons between his new show and Comedy Central’s late night current events comedies “The Daily Show” and “Colbert Report.”
“Absolutely not,” Holmes said when someone asked if his show would be similar. “They are studs at what they do” he said, but, “they are comedians, and they are serving a totally different purpose and a totally different audience,” though he acknowledged “there is some journalistic value in much of what they do.” The confusion was understandable, given that BET had run a promo in which Holmes’s show was called a “political comedy” moments before he began taking questions.
Holmes said he was glad the critic had asked the question because he gets “oh, you’re a comedian now” a lot since BET announced the show, to which he said he replies, “Whoa, whoa, whoa.”
And now, hopefully, he knows why.
“It’s credibility with personality,” explained BET’s president of music programming and special, Stephen Hill, who had introduced Holmes and apparently oversees the show.
“We didn’t want to confuse it with a straight ahead news show…What’s important for our audience is that we have credibility, and T.J. exudes has all the credibility in the world.”
“Well, is the promo wrong then? It’s not a political comedy show?” the critic asked.
“There will be comedy in the show, and, you know, sometimes personality is comedy,” Hill said, adding, “I wouldn’t put a lot of weight on the comedy part. It really is about getting information out in a way that our audience will receive it well.”
Asked why he left CNN to come to BET, Holmes said it was an opportunity that “morphed into a bit of a responsibility” to “use my background and what I’d established for that purpose — for good, if you will.”
Holmes and Hill were a little vague as to exactly how the show will look, other than to say it will have a guest, a panel discussion, and correspondents.