Announced earlier this year, Centric, formerly known as BET on Jazz, BET Jazz, and BET J, and launched in September 1996 as a spin-off cable television channel of BET, is being rebranded, yet again – this time as a specifically black woman-focused network, calling itself "The first network designed for black women.
Those rebranding efforts look like they’ll really start to take shape in 2015, starting with the relaunch of the network’s pickup of the canceled VH1 drama series "Single Ladies," which will premiere in the spring of 2015.
Centric also announced an exclusive co-production deal with Queen Latifah’s Flavor Unit Entertainment to produce new content for the network. Nothing new, in terms of programming, has been announced yet.
Also, Flavor Unit Entertainment’s talk show, "The Queen Latifah Show," which was just canceled by CBS, will also be airing in primetime on Centric.
“We are thrilled to be working once again with Flavor Unit Entertainment and Queen Latifah. She does it all and we are happy to have her join us as a creative force as we continue to grow Centric into a premiere destination for African American women. We couldn’t be more excited about what’s ahead,” said Debra L. Lee, BET Networks Chairman and CEO.
As part of the deal, BET Networks will develop and premiere an all-new Season 4 of the highly rated "Single Ladies" on Centric.
“At more than 10 million strong, and in control of 20 billion dollars in buying power, the African American woman is an increasingly powerful, yet often overlooked consumer. No other network has embraced her with content designed specifically for her – until now,” said Louis Carr, BET Networks President of Broadcast and Media Sales. “Centric is the first network to deliver the programming that celebrates, inspires and addresses her unique perspective.”
It’s evolved over the years, eventually being rebranded by BET as Centric, in 2009, into what had essentially become a general interest channel targeted at African American adult audiences (compared to BET’s targeted younger viewers – although that seems to be changing), with programming comprised primarily of music appreciation from across the Diaspora, as well as unscripted content and lots of old black TV shows like "227," "The Cosby Show," "The Jamie Foxx Show" and many more.
The network claims that it’s growing into a premiere destination for African American women – a crown that I think Oprah Winfrey’s OWN will argue belongs to them, given its announcement of what was its most-watched quarter in network history, delivering double-digit growth across all demos versus the previous quarter, including an increase of +47% African American Women 25-54, the fastest growing cable network for W25-54, and was the #1 cable network on Tuesday and Wednesday nights last quarter for African American women in 2014 (the battle for the African American woman’s attention is underway. Read my piece on that matter HERE).
A promo for the all-new Centric has been released and is embedded below. Are you (or will you be) watching?
And here’s the season 4 ‘Single Ladies’ promo: