The evolution of BET continues.
The Viacom-owned cable network has canceled In Contempt after one season. The series, which starred Erica Ash and was created by Terri Kopp (Law & Order), wrapped its 10-episode first season more than a year ago. Sources say BET had been waiting to see how the rest of its 2019 programming fared as it evaluated the future of the legal drama.
“At this time, BET Networks will not be moving forward with a second season of In Contempt. We are grateful to the incredible cast and producers. We would especially like to thank and recognize the acclaimed executive producers Terri Kopp, who created the series, Lance Samuels and Daniel Iron. We look forward to finding ways to continue in partnership,” a BET spokesperson said Wednesday in a statement. “We are also excited to continue our relationship with the star of In Contempt, Erica Ash, as she is set to star along Paula Patton in the film Sacrifice premiering this fall on BET+.”
The legal thriller Sacrifice is being produced as a two-hour film that also doubles as a backdoor pilot. Patton stars as an entertainment lawyer navigating the lives of her famous clients; Ash co-stars as a powerful D.A. and sorority sister of Patton’s character.
In Contempt was picked up straight to series in October 2017 as BET was ramping up its scripted footprint as part of corporate parent Viacom’s efforts to reinvigorate its linear cable brands. Six months later, new BET president Scott Mills told The Hollywood Reporter that he was looking to greenlight five new originals, with either Hit the Floor or In Contempt doing well enough to bring back for six scripted shows in 2019. Hit the Floor was canceled in December.
BET’s current scripted roster includes American Soul and Boomerang — both of which debuted this year and were renewed for additional seasons — as well as Lena Waithe’s Twenties and a pair (so far) of shows from Tyler Perry, The Oval and Sistas.
The linear cable network is also expected to be a home for BET+ originals including TV Land/Paramount Network import First Wives Club, Will Packer’s Bigger and Sacrifice as the recently launched $9.99/month streaming service has now become a key priority for parent company Viacom.