BET Ramps Up Original Programming


NEW YORK: BET presented a range of scripted and unscripted originals coming to the network later this year, including the anthology series Tales, from executive producer Irv Gotti Lorenzo.

Tales is being prepped as an hour-long anthology series of “song stories” that will weave classic hip-hop songs into three-act narratives. The show is a multiplatform cross-collaboration with the music and entertainment platform TIDAL.

Also coming to BET is The Yard, starring Tony Award winners Anika Noni Rose (Dreamgirls, The Princess and The Frog) and Ruben Santiago-Hudson (Billions, American Gangster). The scripted dramatic show takes viewers inside the unique, culture-filled world of Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

Benched is a one-hour original scripted dramedy about a reluctant, recently appointed judge who is not quite ready to give up his life as bachelor to begin a new life as a public servant. The show was created by Scott Brown.

A take on a traditional police drama, Rebel examines the unique and conflicted relationship officers of color have with their jobs at a time when police forces are rife with brutality and misconduct. Rebel is produced by MarVista Entertainment for BET and co-written, executive produced and directed by filmmaker John Singleton.

Comedy Get Down marks the first scripted comedy series about what happens behind the scenes of a massive stand-up comedy tour featuring five legendary comics: George Lopez, DL Hughley, Cedric the Entertainer, Eddie Griffin and Charlie Murphy. The half-hour single-camera series explores the personal and professional relationships of these comics.

Unscripted highlights coming to BET include Music Moguls, a docuseries about entrepreneurs such as Snoop Dogg, Jermaine Dupri and Birdman; Gary Owen Family, which features the Caucasian comic; Joyful Noise, a gospel music hour; and One Shot, a hip-hop lyrical competition series.

New programming is also set for Centric: Queen Bee, a reality competition for female entrepreneurs, and Monica Morton, a docuseries about an investigator and crisis manager.

Additionally, BET’s digital platforms and the BET Now App will introduce a completely relaunched digital ecosystem with several new components unique to the digital space, including dynamic content feeds, simplified content discovery, designs that incorporate peek-through advertising and messaging opportunities on all electronic devices. The BET Digital refresh presents advertisers with new access to the BET community and expanded reach with added premium integrations and inventory.

Debra Lee, the chairman and CEO of BET Networks, said: “We have developed a deep and authentic relationship with our audience over the last 36 years, and it is that genuine connection that has allowed BET to expand into a global multiplatform brand. This year, we are committed to reaching far beyond the television screen and continuing to deliver more of the premium content that our audiences have come to expect. With BET being more accessible across more platforms, we are creating a powerful 360-degree experience for our audience to interact with the BET brand like never before.”

“Our brand has always been a trendsetter, shaping the culture and leading the conversation. Not only is our content more authentic, powerful, and relevant, but now it’s more accessible across more channels and platforms than ever before—and it gives our audience more ways to interact with the BET brand than ever before,” said Louis Carr, the president of media sales at BET Networks. “Our most recent partnerships with Snapchat and WhoSay will allow our partners to tap into the power of the largest, most socially engaged fans in the multimedia space. BET delivers more impressions, more platforms, more engagement, more experiences and more influence.”