NEW YORK, April 20, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Coming off of the success of its best year ever in 2010 and best quarter ever for 1Q'11, BET Networks announced that it will unveil a brand new slate of programming for BET and CENTRIC at its 2011 Upfront presentation at the Best Buy Theater in New York. During the event, BET plans to announce that it will continue its focus on original scripted content with a new sitcom, REED BETWEEN THE LINES, starring Tracee Ellis Ross and Malcolm-Jamal Warner. The Network will also unveil new scripted web originals, LENOX AVENUE and THE COME UP, and also its first ever sci-fi thriller web series, ODESSA and ASYLUM, all of which will run across all BET Digital platforms -- BET.com, BET Mobile and BET On Demand. BET will also announce another season of THE GAME and a second season of LET'S STAY TOGETHER. In addition to scripted programming, BET will also introduce a new music docu-series, THE MESSAGE, which is a four part series about the music, the culture and the message of hip-hop. The Network will also bring back a number of its popular returning series and tent poles including BLACK GIRLS ROCK!, SUNDAY BEST and the BET AWARDS '11.
"This is the year that our audience, advertisers and partners have been waiting for. The incredible success of 2010 and 1Q'11 have truly put BET Networks in a brand new game and affirms our strategy to continue offering compelling content on air, online and in market," said Debra L. Lee, Chairman and CEO, BET Networks. "Our insights from African-Americans Revealed and our brand strategy served as a blueprint for our 2011 programming mix for BET and CENTRIC."
In 2010, BET Networks posted a blockbuster year of ratings and 2011 is poised to deliver even bigger results for the Network due to the incredible performance of its scripted content, returning series and tent pole specials. According to the Nielsen Company, BET continues to be the #1 cable network among African-Americans and remains the #1 cable network among blacks 18-49 for six consecutive years. Additionally, CENTRIC continues its ratings stride and is growing a stronger connection to its audience. In 2010, CENTRIC became posted gains each consecutive month in 2010. CENTRIC will announce a lineup of returning series, music documentaries and classics.
"We're in a category of one because no other network understands African-American consumers as deeply as BET Networks," said Louis Carr, President of Advertising Sales at BET Networks. "Our insights, coupled with our compelling content, help our advertising partners engage with the consumers they want the most."
Below is an overview of the Upfront announcements for BET and CENTRIC.
NEW PROGRAMMING ON BET
REED BETWEEN THE LINES - Alex is an English professor. Carla's a psychologist. Theirs is quite the contemporary blended Black family, and the couple's hands are beyond full parenting teenage twins and an outspoken 7-year-old daughter. Watch as the couple navigates modern family life and marriage with warmth, wit and humor. Tracee Ellis Ross (GIRLFRIENDS), Malcolm-Jamal Warner (THE COSBY SHOW), Anna Maria Horsford (AMEN) and Melissa De Sousa (THE BEST MAN) star in this new BET original scripted comedy series. SCHEDULED TO PREMIERE 4Q 2011
THE MESSAGE: THE HISTORY OF HIP-HOP - Hip-Hop is the biggest pop culture phenomenon of the last 30 years. In that time, it has grown from being a sub-culture for kids in parks to generating trillions of dollars and changing the racial landscape in America. The impact of Hip-Hop cannot be overstated. Many have tried to tell the story of Hip-Hop, but no one can like BET. THE MESSAGE is a four part series about the music, the culture and the message of Hip-Hop. SCHEDULED TO PREMIERE 3Q 2012
BET RETURNING SERIES
106 & PARK - After celebrating ten years and over 2000 episodes, the network's flagship youth culture and lifestyle program remains the #1 music video countdown show anywhere on television. 106 & PARK continues to count down the top ten video hits. Hosted by Terrence and Rocsi, the show attracts the A-list of music, film, television, pop culture, and sports, from Janet Jackson and Floyd Mayweather to Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga. With interactive new segments, Wild Out Wednesday, Freestyle Friday, a new app and the liveliest audience ever, 106 & PARK amplifies the voice of a generation.
THE MO'NIQUE SHOW - Multiple award winner Mo'Nique returns for a third titillating season of outrageous celebrity interviews, roof-raising musical performances, and laugh-out-loud comedy. When the stars come out to play in Mo'Nique's penthouse, late night magic happens and the party comes to you. Her audience comes because they love her, and stay because she loves them back. Mo'Nique is the people's choice for late night.
THE WENDY WILLIAMS SHOW - Award-winning syndicated radio phenomenon Wendy Williams has changed the talk show game forever with the show that's become a juggernaut. When your in-studio audience dresses up like they're hitting a cocktail party, you know it's the place to be on TV. Wendy's no-holds barred approach to celebrity interviews and hot-button topics makes for a scintillating, irresistible hour.
THE GAME - Season 5 of THE GAME promises to continue its winning streak on BET. Infidelity, addiction, ambition, secrets and betrayal conspire, driving the characters to bend the rules. As each cast member meets new challenges, its perfect mix of laughs and drama positions THE GAME for another standout season in 2012. NEW SEASON SCHEDULED TO PREMIERE 1Q 2012
LET'S STAY TOGETHER - This fun and flirtatious original centered around two couples and one sexy single is back for its second season of laughter and love lessons. Juicy new plot twists for the whole cast will ensure that LET'S STAY TOGETHER continues to be appointment television next season. NEW SEASON SCHEDULED TO PREMIERE 1Q 2012
SUNDAY'S BEST - The NAACP Image Award-winning smash hit gospel competition show promises to inspire like never before! BET's search for the world's most faithful voices will deliver the most competitive season yet. Hosted by Kirk Franklin with celebrity judges Pastor Donnie McClurkin and Mary Mary, gospel hopefuls compete for a major recording contract and incredible prizes. SCHEDULED TO PREMIERE 2Q 2011
RETURNING MEGA-SPECIALS ON BET
BET HIP HOP AWARDS - The #1 Hip-Hop themed telecast on television for five consecutive years returns to pay homage to a culture that changed the world while highlighting the year's best in Hip-Hop music. The live performances are the most talked-about in the business, and the ciphers are explosive. Without a doubt, this is Hip-Hop at its freshest. SCHEDULED TO PREMIERE 4Q 2011
BLACK GIRLS ROCK! - BET is proud to bring back the NAACP Image Award-nominated celebration of the brilliance of Black women. BLACK GIRLS ROCK! honors trailblazers across generations and disciplines with incredible tributes and soul-stirring musical performances. Join us as a new set of celebrants are recognized. SCHEDULED TO PREMIERE 4Q 2011
THE BET HONORS - The BET HONORS celebrates what extraordinary looks like, in the form of accomplished African American honorees serving as a bridge between generations. The BET HONORS continue to affirm African American achievement in stunning fashion for 2012. SCHEDULED TO PREMIERE 1Q 2012
RIP THE RUNWAY - The #1 rated fashion-themed special anywhere on cable, RIP THE RUNWAY pulses to the rhythm of fashion. The hottest models showcase new lines from leading designers of color. Live performances ignite the stage as the fashion show happens. SCHEDULED TO PREMIERE 1Q 2012
CELEBRATION OF GOSPEL - This star-studded gathering of Gospel and R&B greats holds the crown as the highest-rated gospel/religious telecast anywhere on television for eleven years running. The success of CELEBRATION OF GOSPEL continues to deliver exclusive collaborations and musical praise without equal. SCHEDULED TO PREMIERE 2Q 2012
BET AWARDS - The BET AWARDS is the most watched program for African American viewers in cable history for the 10th consecutive year, and #1 with African American viewers 18-34 and 18-49 for the ninth consecutive year. Topping ourselves each year is a challenge we welcome -- and with stunning performances, electrifying tributes and jaw-dropping surprises, expect that challenge to be met and exceeded in 2012. SCHEDULED TO PREMIERE 2Q 2012
A VERY BET CHRISTMAS - This holiday music special is the ideal way to gather the family together and get them in the Christmas spirit. Viewers' favorite R&B and pop recording stars perform Yuletide classics. Santa may even make an appearance! SCHEDULED TO PREMIERE 4Q 2011
NEW BET DIGITALWEB ORIGINALS
LENOX AVENUE - Dramatic web series LENOX AVENUE tells the story of three male friends in their mid-twenties navigating the rough terrain of love, relationships and careers. Set in Harlem, this series features fresh faces Al Thompson (THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS) as Owen, and Dorian Missick (LUCKY NUMBER) as Sellars. Michael K. Williams and Jamie Hector from HBO's hit series THE WIRE and Vanessa Bell Calloway of THE CLOSER make guest appearances.
ODESSA - ODESSA is Sci-Fi webisode that follows a man and his young daughter, ODESSA, who have been on the run for as long as they can remember from the clandestine college university science program that bestowed them with psychokinetic abilities. They must avoid them at all costs or be hunted down and used as living weapons.
THE COME UP - Equal parts drama and comedy, this series follows the lives of seven teens in Washington, D.C. as they actively pursue their dreams to make it as future music executives, doctors, lawyers, and superstar athletes. But first they have to make it through high school. Set at Silver Spring High School and the Duke Ellington School of the Performing Arts, this show is driven by storylines that focus on the cast's relationships with one other and the dilemmas they face on their path to adulthood.
ASYLUM - ASYLUM is a thriller that follows a team of doctors as they diagnose and treat patients at the infamous St. Dympna hospital for the criminally insane. Along the way, we will discover intriguing secrets about the staff and learn more about the asylum's mysterious past.
RETURNING HITS ON CENTRIC
THE HOT 10 COUNTDOWN - Hosted by Chuck Nice, THE HOT 10 is the source for what's hot in entertainment and pop culture for the adult contemporary CENTRIC audience, while counting down the 10 hottest videos of the week. THE HOT 10 features a playlist of current R&B, Neo Soul and Hip-Hop, complete with surprise guests who stop by to discuss their latest projects.
SOUL TRAIN AWARDS - The iconic brand that defined a generation of both Black and popular culture returns for 2012 with its signature awards show. Expect amazing collaborations and emotional tributes from world-class performers. Recognizing the most revered and most promising voices in soul and R&B has never been more fun than it is on the SOUL TRAIN AWARDS! Simulcast on BET. SCHEDULED TO PREMIERE 4Q 2011
AS WRITTEN - What comes first, the lyrics or the music? This varies from artist to artist, and on this new music series, viewers get an intimate look into the minds of some of today's brilliant soul singers as they unveil their creative process for new projects.
INSIDE - This special series brings viewers into the lives of today's musical masters. What and who inspires them? How do they consistently deliver hits, stay relevant, and maintain a standard of musical excellence? INSIDE delivers the answers by providing a closer look at the genius and legacy of musical trailblazers who have changed the landscape and influenced a generation.
About BET Networks
BET Networks, a division of Viacom Inc. (NYSE: VIA, VIA.B), is the nation's leading provider of quality entertainment, music, news and public affairs television programming for the African-American audience. The primary BET channel reaches more than 90 million households and can be seen in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, the United Kingdom and sub-Saharan Africa. BET is the dominant African-American consumer brand with a diverse group of business extensions: BET.com, a leading Internet destination for Black entertainment, music, culture, and news; CENTRIC, a 24-hour entertainment network targeting the 25- to 54-year-old African-American audience; BET Digital Networks - BET Gospel and BET Hip Hop, attractive alternatives for cutting-edge entertainment tastes; BET Home Entertainment, a collection of BET-branded offerings for the home environment including DVDs and video-on-demand; BET Event Productions, a full-scale event management and production company with festivals and live events spanning the globe; BET Mobile, which provides ringtones, games and video content for wireless devices; and BET International, which operates BET in the United Kingdom and oversees the extension of BET network programming for global distribution.
SOURCE BET Networks