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BET Awards: Tracee Ellis Ross and Anthony Anderson to host

The ‘Black-ish’ stars share their excitement over hosting for the second year in a row

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JEAN BAPTISTE LACROIX/AFP/Getty Images

They’re the perfect husband and wife on ABC, and they’re also the perfect hosting duo on BET: Black-ish co-stars Tracee Ellis Ross and Anthony Anderson will host the 2016 BET Awards on June 26, EW can exclusively reveal. The news means Ross and Anderson are the first two-time hosts after their debut last year.

“I’m excited and thrilled to return as co-host of the 2016 BET Awards with my talented, beautiful, and funny co-host Tracee Ellis Ross,” Anderson said. “You will not be disappointed, so put on your seat belts and lock yourself in because you’re in for a ride!”

Although Ross admitted to EW she hasn’t always been an Anderson fan — “I didn’t like him at all in the past,” she said — they almost instantaneously developed a chemistry and friendship in the audition process for the ABC sitcom.

“[Our comedic chemistry] is very real, and I think it comes from the fact that Anthony and I both work similarly in that we both create in the moment,” Ross said. “We come alive in front of people and in front of each other. The relationship between the two of us, magic just starts to happen. I feel like we’re an old comedy duo, like somehow we’re great apart but we’re great together too.”

Last year, at the 2015 BET Awards, Ross and Anderson opened the show with an original song as she flew over the audience in a harness, and earlier this year, Ross hosted BET’s Black Girls Rock show, in which she impersonated various popular singers in an energetic medley. Ross and Anderson are still planning what to do this year, but she’s confident they will live up to the “craziness and joy” that she has delivered in her two most recent BET performances.

“Last year I flew, and just recently at Black Girls Rock I did a medley of songs, so basically what we’ve established is BET offers a stage for me to live out my fantasies and dreams as a physical comedian,” Ross said. “I get to do the craziest of things. So I don’t really know what’s in store, but if the past is any indication of the craziness and joy that is going to ensue, then I think you guys gotta tune in.”

Another reason to tune in: both of the hosts are nominated for two of the night’s major awards. Ross is up for Best Actress and Anderson is up for Best Actor, both for their roles in Black-ish. Additionally, Black-ish actor Yara Shahidi is nominated for the YoungStars award. Ross talked about why their show, which was recently renewed for a third season, resonates with viewers.

“I think, bottom line, our show’s really funny,” Ross said. “That we make people laugh in a clean, fun way that is accessible to young and old is really key, and honestly our show happens to be on at the right time, although I think our show would work at any time because it is just a good show.”

She added: “I think the subject matter that we’re exploring, the way we’re exploring it, is hitting on the nerve that all of us are chomping on right now — it’s the stuff we’re all talking about. Even if it’s not about race, it’s about being a woman, and who takes whose name, and things like that. I think there’s a lot of fodder for the kinds of conversations that a lot of us are having right now in our culture.”

In addition to Ross and Anderson’s chemistry, viewers can look forward to a star-studded lineup. Drake leads the list of nominees with nine noms, followed by Rihanna and Beyoncé with five each. Check out the full list of nominees here.

The show will feature various tributes to Prince. “You can count on memorable performances and moments in honor of a true legend,” said Stephen Hill, BET’s president of programming, in a statement about the nominees.

The announcement followed up BET’s recent tweet criticizing Madonna’s Prince tribute at the Billboard Music Awards.

The 2016 BET Awards will air Sunday, June 26 at 8 p.m. ET on BET.