April 24, 2014 3:30pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
BET Renews 'The Game,' 'Being Mary Jane,' 'Real Husbands'; Adds 'Book of Negroes' Mini
BET presented its upcoming slate to Madison Avenue ad buyers Thursday featuring renewals for current series as well as the addition of new shows and movies/specials.
Returning for additional seasons are drama Being Mary Jane (season two), faux reality show Real Husbands of Hollywood (season three), comedy The Game (season eight) and video countdown series 106 & Park.
Also joining the No. 1 network for African-Americans are Diggy Simmons comedy The Start Up from The Game's Mara Brock Akil and Salim Akil; music competition series Gone Gospel; and dating show Got Game.
The network also introduced its first scripted miniseries, greenlighting The Book of Negroes. The six-part series stars Cuba Gooding Jr., Louis Gossett Jr. and Aunjanue Ellis. It's being co-produced by Entertainment One and the CBC and centers on Aminata Diallo's capture in Africa, enslavement in America and emancipation in England. The series is described as a historical drama based on the Commonwealth Prize-winning novel by Lawrence Hill.
Here's a look at the new series as well as movies/specials:
THE START UP
In The Start Up, hip-hop prince Diggy Simmons makes his scripted series debut as Blake Monroe, founder of TheJetsetters.com, an entertainment and lifestyle blog. The Start Up hones in on what it means to be young, gifted and digital, as Blake and his friends strategize for fame and financing while they navigate the freedoms and pressures of adulthood. Also stars Teyana Taylor, Bria Murphy, Allen Maldonado, Chris Brew and Stephanie Charles. From EPs Mara Brock Akil, Salim Akil, Kenya Barris, James DuBose, Kevin Liles and Laurie Dobbins.
Music artists outside of the gospel genre in search of their next chapter and verse share a house, compete in weekly challenges and embark on a holistic journey to rebuild their careers. Under the mentorship of star-making songwriters, producers and life coaches, the artists will write an inspirational anthem on their road to transforming their lives. There will be egos. There will be tribulations. And there will be a dramatic, victorious conclusion like nothing seen before on BET. Hosted by Kirk Franklin (Sunday Best) and exec produced by Marilyn Gill and Kirk Franklin.
When eligible men and women have to woo a new prospect without relying on their great looks, killer body or fashion sense, it all comes down to whether they’ve Got Game? BET gives the dating show a cliffhanger with each episode as singles undergo wild transformations, complete with costumes and movie make-up before their big dates. Will their charm shine through? Or will it be game over? Hosted by Donnivin Jordan.
LET THE CHURCH SAY AMEN
NAACP Image Award-winning director Regina King (Southland) steps behind the camera to bring ReShonda Tate Billingsley’s inspirational best-seller to the screen. Enter the world of Rachel Jackson, the preacher’s daughter who surmounts incredible odds to reconcile with the father she disappointed. Stars Naturi Naughton, Steve Harris, Lela Rochon Fuqua, Hosea Chanchez and Collins Pennie. Produced by Queen Latifah, Shakim Compere, Shelby Stone and King. Exec produced by Reina King and TD Jakes.
THE HOT CHOCOLATE NUTCRACKER
From veteran executive producer/director Debbie Allen comes a new vision for a holiday classic. A young girl’s dream comes to life when her Christmas gift shows her wondrous new worlds where original music and dance warm hearts, just like hot chocolate. Stars Raven-Symoné and Tichina Arnold.