Upfront: BET Promises More Original Shows
The network announced the new slate at a New York upfront event last week, looking to appeal to advertisers with a "Connection You Can Feel!" tagline.
Launching early in 2009, the animated "The Black Panther" is about "the first black superhero," who is "a wise and just African warrior king."
Coming this fall and billed as family-friendly, "Brutha" focuses on an R&B group of siblings who try to make their way in the music industry with help from Dupri.
Then early next year, "106 & Gospel" will debut as a weekly 90-minute series with performances similar to "106 & Park," along with a countdown of leading gospel videos and "roof-raising youth choir battles."
Sister network BET J will debut "Carmelo's Way" this fall, where cameras follow Carmelo Anthony, the Denver Nuggets star. Given four months of up-close access, the show chronicles his experiences as he grapples with the challenges facing not just a young superstar, but also a man in his 20s.
BET J also has a new cooking series teed up for fall. But "Urban Cuisine" with top chef Marcus Samuelsson looks to extend beyond the kitchen into healthy living.
Back on flagship BET, the network is bringing back popular reality shows "College Hill" and "Keyshia Cole: The Way It Is."
At the upfront event, Viacom unit BET Networks unveiled a study from Simmons Market Research showing that viewers are considerably more receptive to ads on BET properties versus competitors. The study of 5,000 African-American adults found that viewers are 21% more receptive when watching ads on BET, and 31% more receptive when they view them on BET.com.
Louis Carr, president of media sales, said the research helps demonstrate that "BET Networks is the effective and reliable solution for advertisers to reach the coveted African-American audience and consumers of black culture ... across multiple formats and demographics every single day of the year."
On the sales front, the BET Vertical Ad Network--launched in January--offers opportunities for marketers to reach African-American consumers beyond the BET portfolio through a network of more than 250 Web sites.
Also coming to BET next year in the news genre is "Unreported," an investigative look at what it calls the "imbalance" in media coverage of African-Americans.