Less than 2 weeks after TV One energized its base with a 2015-2016 slate that included 8 new original series, 16 original movies, and new production partnerships, BET Networks today unveiled its competing lineup at its annual Upfronts event.
Commentary will follow in a later post, as I’m just getting to the press release, and wanted to publish the main details ASAP for you all to have an immediate look.
Here’s what was announced at the Upfront presentation.
NEW PROGRAMMING ON BET:
- CHASING DESTINY– “CHASING DESTINY” takes us behind the scenes as Grammy-award singer Kelly Rowland, and member of one of the biggest female groups of all time Destiny’s Child, goes on a quest to find the next big female superstar group to make their mark in a dog-eat-dog music industry. In the series, these singing hopefuls will vie their way to stardom with recording mogul Rowland helping them to find their voice as entertainers. From Den of Thieves and Executive Producers Jesse Ignjatovic; Evan Prager; Kelly Rowland; Tim Weatherspoon; Danny Rose and Co-Executive Producers Jared Morell and Jordan Barrow.
- ABOUT THE BUSINESS – “ABOUT THE BUSINESS” is a docu-series following a tight-knit group of friends in the elite world of urban Hollywood. During the day, they are all about the business and on their grind in the high stakes worlds of entertainment. And at night, this clique balances career and family while navigating being power players in LA’s African American celebrity circles. These true friends have big dreams and big drama, but their problems are always raw and relatable. Stars Eva Marcille, Sparkle Holmes, Danielle Crawley, Crystal Renay and EJ King. Produced by Entertainment One (eOne) and from Executive Producers Tara Long, David Shaye and Eric Hoberman for eOne, and Shanta Conic.
- CRIMINALS AT WORK – “CRIMINALS AT WORK” is a docu-crime series that explores crimes committed around the workplace. From inside jobs to corporate espionage, “CRIMINALS AT WORK” dramatically illustrates that you may not really know the person in the cubicle next door.
ZOE MOON– A romantic sitcom featuring Zoe Moon (Brandy Norwood), a live-out-loud newly single mom embarking on a new life and career as a fledgling cosmetics mogul – but it won’t be easy. Gemini, a famous boxer and Zoe’s soon to be ex-husband, is not ready to take a back seat in her life, nor is her precocious 8 year-old son, Xavier, ready for Zoe’s new dating life. Surrounded by a cast of colorful characters, Zoe puts a new spin on the old song “You’re Gonna Make It After All!” From Executive Producers Debra Martin Chase; Scooter Braun; Danny Rose; Executive Producer/Writer Erica Montolfo-Bura and Co-Executive Producer Brandy Norwood.
- THE LABEL – The docu-series will tell the story of the rise…and sometimes fall of the classic record labels over the past 25 years. We’ll talk to the entrepreneurs, the artists, the insiders and key people involved in the creation of the music that defined us over the last quarter century. From Executive Producers Chaka Zulu; Jeff Dixon and Chris “Ludacris” Bridges.
- DESEAN JACKSON: HOME TEAM – Washington Redskins’ wide receiver DeSean Jackson is literally at the top of his game as one of the most talked about and watched players in the NFL today. While being watched is a great thing, it means eyes are always on him– waiting for him to score touchdowns and waiting for him to drop the ball off the field. Even though he has the money and the fame, DeSean’s life is actually run by a core group of women including his “momager” Gayle, his sister and assistant A’Dreea, his publicist Denise and his new girlfriend, Kayla. Produced by Rogue Atlas Productions in association with Lionsgate Television. Eli Frankel, Ryan Holcomb, Elise Duran, Desean Jackson and Byron Jackson serve as Executive Producers. Jay Fragus and Lawrence Bell serve as Co-Executive Producers.
- PUNK’D – A reboot of the popular hidden camera series tailored for the BET audience. For the first time, audiences will be taken behind the scenes as the pranks are conceptualized and carried through. Stakes are high as our viewers follow the ticking clock on the journey of pranking their favorite celebrities. Produced by Katalyst Media and from Executive Producer Jason Goldberg.
NEW MOVIES/ MEGA-SPECIALS ON BET:
- ROCNATION SPORTS LIVE BOXING – BET Networks steps into the ring with RocNation Sports as their exclusive broadcast partner to air live boxing events. The partnership is the first of its kind for the network and includes airing up to nine live; two-hour telecasts of Roc Nation Sports throne boxing events over the next 18 months. The first main event fight to air on BET Networks will feature WBA Super Middleweight World Champion Andre Ward (27-0, 14 KO’s) facing former World Title Challenger Paul Smith (35-5, 20 KO’s) of England on Saturday, June 20, 2015 at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California.
- BROTHERLY LOVE – Set on the backdrop of Philadelphia’s famed Overbrook High School, we track the lives of the nation’s number one high school basketball player Sergio Taylor as he deals with the early pressures of hoop fame. Starring Keke Palmer, Cory Hardrict , Romeo Miller, Macy Gray, Malik Yoba, Quincy Brown and Eric Hill. Written and Directed by Jamal Hill. From Flavor Unit Entertainment.
- NOVEMBER RULE – Up-and-coming sports shoe entrepreneur Steve, who is still reeling from the death of his dad, has made a "November rule" in order to keep his distance from the women who seem to be getting too serious about their relationship. Every November 1st, Steve makes up a whopping lie in order to break up with his current girlfriend. However, this year, when he gives the beautiful Leah her walking papers, he realizes his immature and arbitrary rule has just lost him the woman of his dreams. But whether he can win Leah back seems increasingly doubtful, especially after she starts dating pro sports star, James Avedon. Starring Tatyana Ali, Mo McRae, DJ Qualls, La La Anthony, Faizon Love, Jay Ellis. Directed by Mike Elliot and Executive Produced by Flavor Unit Entertainment.
- DEUCES – An ambitious undercover agent Jason Foster infiltrates an airtight crime ring ran by a charismatic young boss, Stephen “Deuces” Brooks. In time Jason finds himself identifying more with the criminals than with his own reality. But when Jason finds out Deuces is dating his younger sister Janet Foster, things become even more complicated as they both become drawn into Deuce’s intrigue. Starring Larenz Tate, Lance Gross and Meagan Good. Written and Directed by Jamal Hill. From Flavor Unit Entertainment.
- S.N.I.T.C.H. – Inspired by the song S.N.I.T.C.H. from Pusha T’s critically acclaimed album – Pusha T plays JR in a story steeped in distrust and apparent betrayal amongst childhood friends. From Flavor Unit Entertainment.
NEW BET NEWS SPECIALS
- KATRINA – 10 YEARS LATER – On the 10th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, we will take a look back at the devastating effects of the storm as well as the current conditions of residents of the 9th Ward and neighborhoods most affected by the flooding. The water has receded but what’s left in its wake.
- O.J. SIMPSON- 20 YEARS LATER – On the 20th anniversary of the acquittal of O.J. Simpson, we will revisit what was billed then as “the trial of the century.” Simpson is currently serving 33 years for robbery, kidnapping, coercion and conspiracy. The documentary will also explore fame vs infamy.
- JUSTICE & RACE – The documentary explores the convergence of hot button issues of Justice and Race in America. It will explore whether the system is different for African Americans through the lens of average citizens as well as high profile cases including O.J. Simpson, Rodney King, Michael Brown and Eric Garner.
- MUHAMMAD ALI – A biographical tribute to the former heavyweight champion, this news special will connect his boxing prowess as well as his social media activism to the millennial audience to reveal Ali’s meaning in the world today. Known as “The Greatest” and “The People’s Champion,” Ali remains a global icon. From Creative Control and Executive Producers Clarence “Coodie” Simmons and Chike Ozah.
NEW BET DIGITAL PROGRAMMING
- #BLX SPORTS EDITION – An intimate look at top players from the National Basketball Association and National Football League. The digital series highlights our partnerships with both premiere sport leagues’ player associations.
“BET is where cool is created and craved. We create content that let’s our audience know we understand their culture and their lifestyle better than anybody else,” said Stephen Hill, President of Programming, BET Network. “Our programming lens is simple; we are showing the variety in black life in an authentic way. We are the only network that takes the complete, complex and comprehensive view of African American life.”
NEW PROGRAMMING ON CENTRIC:
- ACCORDING TO ALEX– Alex Martin Dean is NOT your typical mom, and she doesn’t have a typical family. Sure, they get loud and have their own drama, but in the end, there’s nothing but love! Now that the kids are getting old enough to step out of the house and make their own plans, Alex and her best friend, Leisa, are talking about what they want to do with the rest of their lives, both professionally and personally– that is, until a new grandchild, Alex’s daughter Amara and her fiancé, Chris, move home, turning to Alex and the rest of the family to help raise their new baby girl. Can they balance family, fun and future plans without losing their cool, or their minds? Find out… on ACCORDING TO ALEX! Produced by 44 Blue Productions and One Ho Productions and from Executive Producers Whoopi Goldberg; Tom Leonardis; Stephanie Noonan Drachkovitch and Alex Martin Dean. Co-Executive Producer Esther Frank.
- #MYCURRENTSITUATION– A documentary series that explores both common and unusual parts of society offering an unadulterated look into the interesting lives of everyday people dealing with everyday issues. Driven first-hand by the subjects, each episode focuses on one particular topic while weaving in between unique storylines of 2 different participants with 2 different perspectives. From I’m Running for Office to I’m a Stripper, this show will highlight the many roles that black women play and the various situations in which they find themselves.
- CURVE APPEAL – Award-winning Fashion Director and Celebrity Stylist Timothy Snell (Queen Latifah, Angela Bassett, Tisha Campbell-Martin) is the winning combination: Image-maker/ therapist. “CURVE APPEAL” is a half hour docu-drama series that follows Hollywood’s hottest plus size stylist and his team as they work to dress both his celebrity clients and everyday women. From Executive Producers Queen Latifah; Shakim Compere and Ianthe Jones. Co-Executive Producers Tim Snell; Cameron Kadison and Diane Perez.
- FROM THE BOTTOM UP – “FROM THE BOTTOM UP” is a six-part docu-series that follows the journey of five women, after falling from grace, as they try to make the necessary changes to turn their lives around and find redemption for themselves and their families. The series provides an unfettered view into their world and the organic chaos within their individual lives. The series tackles real, raw, gritty, emotional and honest issues from women who are smiling on the outside, but two minutes from dying on the inside. It’s not what you have, but what you do with what you have that matters! Starring Christine Beatty; Sara Stokes; Chrystale Wilson; Kim Smedley and Stacii Jae Johnson. From Flavor Unit Entertainment and Executive Producers Queen Latifah; Shakim Compere; Nicci Gilbert; Luchia Ashe; James Dubose and Yaneley Arty.
RETURNING HITS ON BET AND CENTRIC:
RETURNING HITS ON BET
- THE GAME – Final Season – Season 9 of “THE GAME” continues to explore the world of the San Diego Sabers through the eyes of its beloved characters, while bringing back some fan favorites to stir up the drama. Stars Coby Bell, Brandy Norwood, Wendy Raquel Robinson, Hosea Chanchez, Lauren London, Jay Ellis, Barry Floyd and Brittany Daniel. Executive Producers Mara Brock Akil; Salim Akil; Kenny Smith; Hale Rothstein and Jennifer Genzuk-Rice. Co-Executive Producer Claire Brown.
- BEING MARY JANE– BET’s first one-hour original drama, “BEING MARY JANE”, is back with a steamy new third season full of nuanced characters, stellar performances, and engaging writing. Stars Gabrielle Union; Lisa Vidal; Richard Roundtree; Stephen Bishop; Margaret Avery; Richard Brooks; B.J. Britt; Raven Goodwin; Aaron D. Spears and LaTarsha Rose. From Executive Producers Mara Brock Akil; Salim Akil and Gabrielle Union. Co-Executive Producers Devon Shepard; Claire Brown and Jeff Morrone.
- BOBBY JONES GOSPEL – Final Season – The network’s flagship gospel program and the longest continuously running original series on cable television is entering its final season. GRAMMY® winner Dr. Bobby Jones, Jr., the “Ambassador of Gospel,” delivers his ministry and praise. This weekly standout features joyous performances and riveting interviews from gospel music’s most talented entertainers, choirs, evangelists, and others. http://bet.com/bobbyjonesgospel Follow us on Twitter: @BETGospel; like us on Facebook: Facebook.com/BETGospel.
- REAL HUSBANDS OF HOLLYWOOD – The fakest reality show ever is a real-life runaway smash. Led by comic genius Kevin Hart with an all-star cast (Nelly, Nick Cannon, Duane Martin, Dondre Whitfield and Cynthia McWilliams), Season 4 will provide more appointment television full of new rivalries, special guests and laugh-out-loud cliffhangers. http://bet.com/RHOH Follow us on Twitter: @BETRealHusbands; like us on Facebook: Facebook.com/BETRealHusbands. From Executive Producers Kevin Hart; Stan Lathan; Ralph Farquhar; Jesse Collins; Chris Spencer and Dave Becky.
- NELLYVILLE – "NELLYVILLE" is a one-hour docu-series following Nelly as he navigates his busy career as a hip-hop icon, successful entrepreneur, and loving father to his two biological children (daughter “Nana” and son “Tre”) and his deceased sister’s two children (nephew “Lil Shawn” and niece “Stink”) – all while nurturing a friendship with Shantel “Miss” Jackson. Produced by Entertainment One and from Executive Producers John Morayniss, Tara Long and David Shaye for eOne; Howie Miller; Shanta Conic; Kim McKoy and Nelly and Co-Executive Producer J Erving.
- IT’S A MANN’S WORLD – Known for their starring roles on stage and screen, Tamela and David Mann have become household names for their #1 comedy, “Meet the Browns.” Season 2 of “IT’S A MANN’S WORLD” will take a peek behind their celebrity on-screen personas, exclusive events, famous friends and the at-home lives of David and Tamela Mann. Produced by Entertainment One and from Executive Producers John Morayniss, Tara Long and Eric Hoberman for eOne; Howie Miller; Kim McCoy; Phil Thornton; David Mann Sr.; Tamela Mann and Roger M. Bobb.
RETURNING MEGA-SPECIALS ON BET:
- BET AWARDS’ 15 – Celebrating its 15th anniversary, The BET AWARDS franchise is the #1 program in cable television history among the Black audience, and is still a top 10 awards show on television (Broadcast & Cable) among total viewers. It continues to hold the leadership position because it gathers the biggest stars in music, sports, Hollywood, and philanthropy all on one stage for one incredible night. http://bet.com/betawards Follow us on Twitter: @BETAwards; like us on Facebook: Facebook.com/TheBETAwards.
- BET HIP HOP AWARDS– The “BET HIP HOP AWARDS” returns for its ninth smash year to highlight who did it better in hip hop music, with bold performances and breakthrough freestyle cyphers that set social media on fire. This is the one show where the hottest rap stars of today share the stage with the hip-hop icons of tomorrow. This show serves millions of people who love hip hop culture, a culture which continues to define a generation and defy convention. http://bet.com/hiphopawards Follow us on Twitter: @HipHopAwards; like us on Facebook: Facebook.com/HipHopAwards. `
- BLACK GIRLS ROCK! – “BLACK GIRLS ROCK!,” created by Beverly Bond, is the tribute show that became a movement. This NAACP Image Award-nominated special is both timely and timeless, saluting dynamic leaders in entertainment, business, philanthropy and beyond. Past award winners include Ruby Dee, Susan L. Taylor, Missy Elliott, Janelle Monáe, and Taraji P. Henson. Featuring emerging and legendary talent, touching tributes to present-day role models and soulful, surprising musical performances, “BLACK GIRLS ROCK!” celebrates the brilliance and beauty of women of color who shape our world and uplift our girls. http://bet.com/BGR Follow the conversation: #BlackGirlsRock.
- CELEBRATION OF GOSPEL– The biggest night that celebrates gospel music, America’s truly original and internationally loved art form, only happens on BET. “CELEBRATION OF GOSPEL” is a star-studded gathering of some of the best voices in Gospel and R&B. Impossible to duplicate, this is the only awards show that literally moves your spirit. http://bet.com/COG Follow us on Twitter: @BETGospel; like us on Facebook: Facebook.com/BETGospel.
- THE BET HONORS–The Washington Post says, “the annual BET HONORS have just about perfected the ideal mix of glamour, inspiration, humor and sex appeal.” We could not have said it better! The BET HONORS shows the world “what extraordinary looks like” by saluting luminaries whose lives and revolutionary work contribute to and elevate our culture. Airing during Black History Month, The BET HONORS is a shimmering night of dynamic performances and tributes that cross genres and generations. http://bet.com/honors Follow us on Twitter: @BET; like us on Facebook: Facebook.com/BET.
RETURNING MEGA-SPECIALS ON CENTRIC:
- SOUL TRAIN AWARDS – The Hippest Trip In America keeps grooving forward. The iconic brand that defined a generation returns for 2015 with its signature awards show. Featuring never before-seen musical collaborations and powerful tributes from world-class performers, the Soul Train Awards brings you the most revered and promising voices in soul and R&B. And since airing on both our networks is always better, The Soul Train Awards is simulcast on Centric and BET.
- CENTRIC SOUL WEEKEND – “Centric Soul Weekend” will be an amazing on the ground experience shared by viewers, artists and clients alike, as Las Vegas comes alive with a celebration and showcase of the best of African-American culture.
That’s it for now…
Earlier this morning, BET did announce a new, first of its kind for the network partnership, with Jay-Z’s Roc Nation Sports, which will see the latter as their exclusive broadcast partner to air live "throne boxing" events on the network. The deal includes airing up to nine live, two-hour telecasts of Roc Nation Sports "throne boxing" events over the next 18 months.
"BET is constantly searching for ways to expand its portfolio of content with the sole goal of satisfying our audiences,” said Stephen G. Hill, President of Programming, BET Networks. "Roc Nation is doing very exciting things in the entertainment space and we are excited to partner with them on this groundbreaking deal positioning BET Networks as a go-to destination for premier live boxing events. Together, we’ll provide unique entertainment.”