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BET Leans on Comedy Stars for New Series

Thanks to the likes of Kevin Hart, Chris Rock, Steve Harvey and Wanda Sykes, BET is focused on funny for the new programming shared at its upfront presentation in New York April 27.

And after the success of The New Edition Story, BET will also produce new biopics and documentary series, including one on Bobby Brown.

“Over the last 37 years, BET has cultivated a deep and lasting relationship with our viewers, as we remain the premiere destination for lovers of African American culture. This year, we are saying yes to all things black, with more premium original programming and best-in-class tentpoles that reflect and invigorate our viewers,” said Debra Lee, chairman and CEO, BET Networks. “BET’s global influence is stronger than ever and we are continuing to expand beyond the television screen to impact our audience–and the world–across multiple platforms.”

Related: BET Doubling Down on Original Programming

From Kevin Hart comesDivorce Saved My Marriage, a 30-minute scripted dramedy based on the stand up of David A. Arnold that turns relationships inside out. With 10 episodes,Divorceis executive produced and created by Arnold and Devon K. Shepard, with Hart and Dave Becky also in the executive producer ranks.

BET joins forces with executive producer Chris Rock to bring an African American female voice to late night news satire:The Rundown With Robin Thede. Former head writer and contributor forThe Nightly Show, Thede gives her unique take on the week’s headlines in politics and pop culture.

The show is produced by JAX MEDIA with Rock and Thede as executive producers. Tony Hernandez, Lilly Burns, John Skidmore and Genevieve Anniello also executive produce.

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BET has ordered 24 episodes of the 30-minute show.

Executive producer Steve Harvey and BET are opening the door to BET’sMancave, a no-holds-barred conversation among five men brave enough to be honest as they get serious about hot topics. Hosted by Jeff Johnson, this topical weekly event series brings together African American men with wildly diverse opinions to dissect entertainment, politics, news and other stuff.

BET’sMancaveis created by Jeff Johnson and produced by Truly Original and East 112th Street Productions. Johnson is an executive producer alongside Truly Original’s Steven Weinstock, Glenda Hersh and Bryan Hale. Steve Harvey and Gerald Washington are executive producers for 112th Street Productions. BET is on board for 12 episodes.

From Push It Productions and executive producer Wanda Sykes,Face Valueis a game show that will finally answer the age-old question, “Can you judge a book by its cover?” This series awards cash and prizes for correctly guessing facts about strangers from all walks of life, based solely on their appearance and a few personal details. Deon Cole hosts the show. Sykes and Page Hurwitz are executive producers along with Lance Crouther.

BET is on board for 24 episodes.

Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson takes variety and sketch comedy to the next level for BET with50 Central. Along with sketches, there will be hidden camera pranks, musical performances and A-list celebrity guests to create the ultimate late night party, handpicked and hosted by 50 Cent.

50 Centralis produced by G-Unit Film & Television in partnership with Back Roads Entertainment with Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, Stephen J. Savva, Colby Gaines and Riley Robbins the executive producers. BET ordered 24 episodes.

Love Roomis a social experiment that brings together individuals who have almost given up on falling in love. Two sexy, single strangers will meet and live together for a week to see if a relationship blossoms.

The show is produced by Eastern. Toby Barraud, Stefan Springman, Mala Chapple, Carmen Mitcho and Sean David Johnson are executive producers. BET ordered 10 episodes of the 60-minute show.

After the popularity of its New Edition biopic, BET will runThe Bobby Brown Storyin mini-series form. Written by Abdul Williams (The New Edition Story),The Bobby Brown Storyis executive produced by Jesse Collins for JCE Films, a division of Jesse Collins Entertainment.

BET will use six hour-long episodes to tell the story of the world’s most dangerous record label inDeath Row Chronicles.The series is produced by Entertainment One (eOne) and Creature Films.

BET has also joined forces with Twitter for the first industry analysis of the overall impact of “Black Twitter.” BET defines Black Twitter as the digital water cooler where African Americans exchange ideas and opinions that are centered on the black experience.

Twitter and BET will release findings in a joint session in June.

BET’s returning series includeThe Quad,The BreaksandHit the Floor.

Specials and other tentpole programming includesLip Sync Battle Special Editions, which BET will air two of;BET Awards, in its 18th year;BET Experience, which showcases the best in music, comedy and entertainment;BET Hip Hop Awards, highlighting the hottest in hip hop;Black Girls Rock!;Soul Train AwardsandSoul Train Weekend.

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.