"It's for all youth, not just urban youth," says Stephen Hill, BET's executive vice president of music, programming and talent. The show is introducing an online social community, 106 & Park Connect, that will make the already interactive show more accessible.
Hill says he still has the celebratory Champagne bottle from July 2001, when the show's weekly average viewership surpassed that of MTV's Total Request Live. Now, 106 & Park's 6 p.m. airing averages 575,000 viewers, compared with 300,000 for TRL at 3:30.
The show's highest ratings came after Aaliyah died in a plane crash in 2001. "That show wasn't about celebrity (guests)," Hill says. "It was a memorial service for fans."