Welcome to upfront season!
‘Tis the season to pitch content to advertisers and get some shmoney (sponsorships & partnerships) for the networks. In the television industry, upfronts can be a piece of cake or a bunch of sour grapes. For Viacom, however, with many changes as outlined by CEO Bob Bakish earlier this year in his 5-point strategy to steer the media conglomerate back into the black, they are in luck.
While Sean Moran, Head of Ad Sales for Viacom, has been busy hosting private dinner parties for advertisers, Debra Lee has been brewing a pot of, shall we say, star-studded series and changes with BET Networks.
Of course, there’s much to discuss in terms of upfronts, but here I’ll just give you the five things you should know about BET Networks and what’s to come for the next TV season:
1. 50 Cent, Wanda Skyes, Kevin Hart, & Steve Harvey to Executive Produce Several New Shows
What a time to be a Black executive producer in today’s market. After studies have shown that Black audiences aren’t the only ones starving for Black content, who better to enlist for creating the content than Black Hollywood’s finest?
50 Cent will be rolling out a “50 Central” variety sketch comedy show, while Wanda Skyes will be EPing a game show titled, “Face Value”. According to sources, the show is set to “humorously break down stereotypes, expose prejudices, and celebrate the human spirit by highlighting the commonalities and differences among people of various backgrounds, races, religions, beliefs and life experiences.”
Kevin Hart is rolling out a dramedy as well titled, “Divorce Saved My Marriage”. Steve Harvey and Chris Rock will executive produce a talk show and satirical news show, respectfully.
2. Centric will now be branded as “BET Her”
Centric was originally incarnated in October 2009 from ‘BET Jazz’. Over the last few years, it has struggled to pick up the momentum as it was branded as “the only multi-platform lifestyle brand that boldly celebrates the diverse and beautiful world of black women.”
Well, instead of being its own little island amongst the sea of cable channels, Centric will now be known as “BET Her”. No date has yet been set as to when this change is to take place.
3. BET Snags VH1’s ‘The Breaks’ & ‘Hit The Floor’
In some more exciting news, remember ‘Hit The Floor’? The sports drama show that brought you cheerleading scandal and on/off-court drama from VH1? Well, you will now be tuning in on BET to catch all that and the 90s Hip-Hop series, ‘The Breaks.’
4. Expect More Biopics Like ‘The New Edition Story’
All we can ever hear about is ‘The New Edition Story’, which performed extremely well across all BET’s demographics after premiering in February. So why not give the people more? Biopics covering Bobby Brown & Death Row Records Suge Knights is also slated to premiere from BET in the near future.
5. Also, expect more Anika Noni Rose on “The Quads”
Personally, I have not had the opportunity to watch this new show called “The Quads”, which recently finished up their first season. From what I have heard amongst peers is that the show focuses on life at a fictional HBCU, which also centers the conversation on sexual assault.
Nonetheless, the show will be renewed for a second season, whether you tuned in or not, and will continue to showcase the ever talented Anika Noni Rose, who also acts of 50 Cent’s hit Starz drama, Power.
What are you looking forward to most of all coming up in 2017-2018’s TV season?