BET 'Game': Ramps Up Original TV, Web Shows

BET said it would order up another season of former CW series "The Game," which it now produces and has turned into a network driver. It will also add "Reed Between the Lines" with Malcolm-Jamal Warner as it focuses on adding more original comedy.

The BET unit of Viacom, which also includes network Centric, also said it would ramp up its focus on original Web productions, including a Webisode in the sci-fi genre.

BET revived "The Game" to strong ratings in January and will launch a fifth season in 2012. Also back for a second season next year is the comedy "Let's Stay Together." The new "Reed Between the Lines" is scheduled for later this year.

CW canceled "The Game," starring Tia Mowry as a young woman with a boyfriend in the NFL, in 2009 after three seasons.

BET will also produce a four-part series to air next year -- "The Message: The History of Hip-Hop."

By one measure, BET has seen prime-time ratings in the 18-to-49 demo up 10% this season through early this month -- to an average of 441,000 viewers. Ad revenues jumped 12% in 2010 to $320.4 million, according to SNL Kagan.



BET ad sales chief Louis Carr stated: "Our insights, coupled with our compelling content, help our advertising partners engage with the consumers they want the most."

In development is sci-fi Webisode "Odessa," about a father and daughter running from a 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."

Centric targets a slightly older 25-to-54 demo than BET and airs "The Cosby Show" and "In Living Color" weeknights in prime time. It also has an emphasis on music, with series such as "As Written," about the creative process of contemporary soul singers.

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