*BET is calling 2009 its “best year ever” after enjoying double-digit gains in all four quarters and in all key demographics, and an average viewership of 512,000, the network announced Thursday.

The cable channel attributes its historic ratings growth to “an aggressive strategy that included new original programming, big signature specials, key acquisitions and blockbuster movies.’

In 2009 BET scored the number one award show on cable and the number one program among blacks in cable television history with the “BET Awards ’09,” which drew 10.7 million total viewers.