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BET hopes to build on its scripted series success with the fall launch of a new family-themed comedy series and several new scripted web series as part of its 2011 programming schedule, the network announced Wednesday during its New York upfront presentation to advertisers.
BET, which set a network ratings record in 2010, will premiere this fall Reed Between The Lines -- starring Tracee Ellis Ross (Girlfriends) and Malcom-Jamal Warner (The Cosby Show) as a successful married couple trying to balance work, marriage and parenthood -- to complement its hit scripted shows The Game and Let's Stay Together, which will both return for new seasons in 2012, according to Loretha Jones, BET's original programming president.
The Game, which follows the lives of players on a fictional football team, finished its freshman season last month as the network's most-watched series of all time, averaging more than 4 million viewers. Let's Stay Together, which takes a look at the relationship challenges of several young, successful African-Americans, averaged more than 2 million viewers in its first season.
The network will also debut three scripted web-based series later this year, two of which delve into the thriller/Sci-Fi genre.
Odessa follows a man and his young daughter on the run from scientists who bestowed them with psychokinetic abilities; while Asylum is a thriller that follows a team of doctors as they diagnose and treat patients at a hospital for the criminally insane.
Two other web series include Lenox Ave, which tells the story of three male friends in their mid-20s navigating the love, relationships and careers, and The Come Up, which follows the lives of seven teens in Washington, D.C. as they actively pursue their dreams.
BET will most likely produce 10, 3-to-6-minute episodes for each web
series. If successful, the web series could find their way to BET,
according to Demark West, Bet Digital Media Group president.
Other new BET shows include The Message: The History Of Hip-Hop, a four-part series that chronicles the history, music, culture and the message of Hip-Hop.
Returning BET series include gospel music competition show Sunday Best; music video countdown show 106 & Park; and late night talk shows The Monique Show and The Wendy Williams Show.
BET's tentpole specials The BET Awards, Black Girls Rock, BET Honors, Rip The Runway, Celebration of Gospel and BET Hip Hop Awards will also return in 2011-12, according to the network.
R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.
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