Tired of being the butt of everyone’s jokes, BET is adding significantly to its original programming roster. If the record-breaking success of the The Game and the benign tolerance of Let’s Stay Together are any indication, BET viewers are quite open to any adequately-plotted sitcoms and dramas the network might throw their way.
At an upfront last week, CEO Debra Lee announced Reed Between the Lines, a Mara Brock Akil sitcom staring Girlfriends alum Tracee Ellis Ross and Malcolm Jamal Warner as a married psychiatrist and English professor, respectively, who are parents to teen twins and “an outspoken seven-year-old.”
They’re also adding four original web series: Lenox Avenue, a drama set in Harlem about three black men (The Wire’s Michael K. Williams among them) in their mid-twenties, juggling careers and busy love lives; Odessa, a sci-fi series about a father and daughter on the run from a malicious university science department that has endowed them with psychokinetic powers; Asylum, a thriller about doctors at a hospital for the criminally insane; and The Come-Up, a dramedy about black high school students in DC, actively pursuing professional dreams.
Both The Game and Let’s Stay Together have been re-upped. The Mo’Nique Show, The Wendy Williams Show, Sunday Best, and 106 and Park will also return next season. They’re adding a documentary, The Message: The History of Hip-Hop.