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BET Taps Brandy, Kelly Rowland for New Series

Black Entertainment Television will roll out its most ambitious original programming slate ever featuring new scripted and reality shows, the network announced Thursday (April 23) in advance of its upfront presentation.

The network, which delivers more African American viewers on a weekly basis than any other cable network, will build on its scripted lineup with a new sitcom, Zoe Moon, starring Brandy Norwood as a single mom seeking a new life as a fledgling cosmetics mogul, according to network officials.

The series will join returning scripted shows Being Mary Jane, Real Husbands of Hollywood and the final season of The Game.

On the non-scripted front, the network will team with Destiny Child singer Kelly Rowland to develop Chasing Destiny, which aims to find the next big female superstar group. Other docu-series on the docket include About the Business, following a tight knit group of friends in Hollywood; Criminals at Work, exploring crimes committed around the workplace; and The Label, which chronicles the rise and fall of classic record labels over the past 25 years, the network said.

BET will also delve into sports with the June 20 debut of RocNation Sports Live Boxing, its first ever multi-fight boxing series. On the sports-themed reality side, the network will produce DeSean Jackson: Home Team, which follows the personal and professional life of the talented Washington Redskins’ wide receiver.

The network will also produce several news specials in 2015, including Katrina—10 Years Later; OJ Simpson – 20 Years Later and Justice & Race.

Returning series include Nellyville, It’s a Mann’s World and Bobby Jones Gospel.

“Black consumers experience BET Networks differently than any other network because of our 35 years of history, tremendous experience and insights,” Debra Lee, BET Networks chair and CEO, said in a statement. “We continue to give our viewers what they want – high quality content that respects, reflects and elevates them.With more hours of original programming than ever before, our new shows coupled with our returning hits like Being Mary Jane and Nellyville make our original slate stronger than ever.”

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.