Black Entertainment Television will play in the scripted series arena with two original series, including new, original episodes for the cancelled CW dramedy series The Game, the network announced Wednesday night during its upfront presentation to advertisers in New York.
The series, which follows the lives and relationships of players on a fictional pro football team, was cancelled by broadcast network CW in 2009 after three seasons. BET will bring back most of the cast for the series, which will premiere in fourth quarter 2010, according to Loretha Jones, president of original programming for the African-American targeted network. BET currently airs episodes from the first three seasons of the series.
BET will also team with actress/singer Queen Latifah's production company Flavor Unit Entertainment to produce a scripted comedy series, Let's Stay Together. The series, which takes a look at relationship challenges of five young, aspirational African-Americans, will premiere in first quarter 2011, according to Jones.
BET and Flavor Unit will also team to produce feature-length film The Cookout 2, a sequel to the 2004 comedy movie.
"This year we decided to add scripted shows to our strategy mix of reality programming, acquisitions and movies," Jones said. "We're pretty confident our upcoming slate of programming has a little something for everybody."
On the event side, BET later this year will develop specials around the 10th anniversaries of two popular network franchises, 106 & Park and The BET Awards, according to Stephen Hill, president of Entertainment and music programming for the network. BET will also celebrate its 30th anniversary with a special highlighting the 30 biggest moments of the last 30 years.
The network will also partner with women's advocacy group Black Girls Rock to televise an awards show celebrating and honoring African-American women and their achievements. Hill also said the network will air specials focusing on the top 10 hip-hop artists of the 21st century as well as women in hip hop, Hill said.
On the reality front, the network later this year will air The Kennedys, which follows the exploits of skateboarder Terry Kennedy and his efforts to balance his fame with family life; and The Laurieann Gibson Project, a competition dance series led by the famed Making The Band choreographer and principal dancer.
BET will also return several series including its late night talk show The Mo'Nique Show; freshman reality series The Family Crews and gospel music series Bobby Jones Gospel. The network will also feature Antonia ‘Toya' Carter in a series spinoff of the network's popular sophomore reality series Tiny and Toya.
BET sister service Centric will air a television version of the popular daily syndicated radio series The Steve Harvey Morning Show beginning in fourth quarter 2010, according to Jones. Centric will also debut over the next 12 months Almost Married, which chronicles the marriage plans of two contestants from BET's gospel series Sunday Best; and Vindicated, a series hosted by hip hop artist Common that highlights persons exonerated for crimes they did not commit, said Centric general manager Paxton Baker.