9:26pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
BET Sets End Date for 'The Game'
It's game over for BET's The Game.
The Viacom-owned cable network announced late Monday that the veteran dramedy would end its run after its newly announced ninth season.
"All good things must come to an end, and after celebrating four successful seasons of The Game on BET, the network has announced production is under way on the show's final two seasons," the network said in a statement. "In January 2011 the cult following of The Game proved that the show was a fan favorite with 7.7 million viewers for its premiere debut on BET. With seasons eight and nine, we're excited to end on a high note by giving Sabers fans a chance to bid farewell to their favorite players on and off the field."
BET in April renewed The Game for an eighth season, with production on that and its newly announced ninth and final season, which will air in early 2015.
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The series, from Salim and Mara Brock Akil, originally launched on The CW but moved to BET to become the cable network's first original scripted series. The Akils inked a new overall deal with the cabler to continue on as showrunners and develop new projects for two additional years. The pact extends their deal through 2016. The couple is responsible for two of BET's now signature series: The Game and Being Mary Jane, the latter of which started as a back-door pilot.
"I'm really proud of the look of our show, that we took a multicam budget and turned it into a single-camera show," Mara Brock Akil said in an interview on BET.com after the announcement. "Its look, its tone, its approach, the characters' development — that, yes, we were a half-hour comedy but we used our moments to deepen the characters. We also offered drama in a half-hour space. And that was my own personal desire, but it was also reflective of what the audience has been wanting, which is more well-rounded, deeper, richer, layered characters, and they got that in The Game."
"I believe The Game and the richness of the characters, including building off of Girlfriends back when, has contributed to the conversation of where we are today in media, both in television and film as it relates to what we demand and what we want from characters that look like us, and stories that look like us," she continued. "I'm very proud that, if you can trace back from the writing and the acting and the direction and the production design — we elevated that. I hope that would be a great legacy to leave behind. And that basically good storytelling can live. The bigger legacy was the conversation that the audience had with the network. There was a partnership that was created, and the use of social media — we were part of the history of television and how it interacts with social media and how it can be an asset to a show and the support of a show. I think The Game is locked in history about that movement."
BET's original programming roster includes Let's Stay Together, Real Husbands of Hollywood and Being Mary Jane.