01/06/2012 08:15 am ET Updated Jan 06, 2012

The Power List: Will TJ Holmes Bring BET's News Credibility Back?

This week, BlackVoices is shining the spotlight on 12 people who are primed to make big waves in 2012.

The last time BET had a regular news program, T.J. Holmes had yet to even earn his college degree in broadcast journalism, much less sit behind the desk of a national cable-news show.

But as the network's penchant for covering hard new faded, Holmes' grew, landing him a coveted spot on CNN and front row at the Virginia Tech shooting in Blacksburg, Virginia in 2007; the Georgia-Russian conflict in 2008 and the execution of former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein in 2006.

It's a resume that undoubtedly impressed BET and one that will benefit the network well with a presidential campaign underway and a greater need to balance its entertainment coverage with more substantive news content.

"It's now upon us to develop vehicles that capture his intelligence, curiosity about the world, warmth, humor and compassion. It's a challenge that we are happy to have," Stephen G. Hill, President of Music Programming and Specials at BET Networks said in a release last month.

In response to critics who've questioned why he chose to leave an established news channel for BET, which is not known most for its news programming, Holmes told

I would say wait until 2012. You have to start somewhere. BET certainly has a foundation in news programming and information programming. I think [beefing up its news programming] was a big part of BET wanting me to come on board, and a big part of me wanting to come on board. BET is saying, "Here is what we're trying to do, and we're taking it so seriously that we went to go get this guy with this [news] background."

Holmes' deal with BET includes a new show on the network and content on

WATCH: T.J. Holmes says goodbye to CNN