8:30am PT by Lesley Goldberg
'Boomerang,' 'American Soul' Renewed at BET
BET is committed to its new scripted originals.
The Viacom-owned cable network has handed out second-season renewal orders to the comedy Boomerang and the drama American Soul.
"BET Networks is so proud to be the television home for the compelling scripted series Boomerang and American Soul," BET president Scott Mills said Tuesday in a statement. “Our continued partnership demonstrates BET’s commitment to the elevation of creative and authentic storytelling that viewers expect from the brand.”
The news comes the same day that American Soul — inspired by the life of Soul Train mastermind Don Cornelius — wraps its freshman season. The series ranks as the top cable scripted drama among BET's core audience of African-Americans 18-49 and total viewers. It stars Sinqua Walls and hails from Jesse Collins Entertainment.
"The partnership and creative trust of Tony Cornelius and everyone at Jesse Collins Entertainment resonated with audiences in a significant way and ensured American Soul's success. BET Networks is invested in showcasing black excellence in our programming and we look forward to digging even deeper into the incredible legacy of Don Cornelius and Soul Train in season two," said Connie Orlando, head of programming at BET.
Boomerang, meanwhile, is a sequel to the film of the same name that takes place 25 years after the events of the original. The penultimate episode of the comedy airs Tuesday. The series counts Lena Waithe and original star Halle Berry among its exec producers. Boomerang is a co-production between BET and Paramount Television. The series is cable's No. 1 new scripted comedy among African-Americans in the key adults 18-49 demo and total viewers.
"Making Boomerang has been one of the highlights of my career and the positive feedback we've gotten from fans and critics has been so validating. I'm beyond excited to dive even deeper into these characters' lives in season two," said Waithe, who penned Tuesday's episode.
Boomerang and American Soul were the first two new series to be ordered by Mills, who was tapped to take over for Debra Lee in December 2017. His goal has been to increase originals by 21 percent with new scripted series and movies, while also leveraging relationships with prominent African-American writers and producers as well as Viacom's corporate siblings. BET's scripted roster also includes the upcoming series-finale movie of Being Mary Jane, TV Land and Paramount Network transplant First Wives Club, In Contempt and Peachtree Place, among others.
BET is one of Viacom's core networks and top priorities to rejuvenate under CEO Bob Bakish.