BET’s New Slate of Programming Continues to Entertain, Empower and Engage Its Audience

BET is in tune with what African-American viewers want: high-end drama and comedy, along with more refined reality and hard-hitting investigative documentary series.

On Wednesday, April 17, BET announced its upcoming slate of programming for 2018-2019, which will include all-star talent and a dramatic increase in original content.

“Creating powerful, engaging and provocative content has been BET Networks’ legacy for decades,” said Connie Orlando, Head of Programming, BET Networks. “With the increase in our original programming slate for 2019, we’re committed more than ever to telling the most compelling and authentic stories about the Black experience.”

BET Networks President Scott Mills spoke to The Hollywood Reporter ahead of the announcement to discuss the network’s reorientation toward original, scripted content.

“Our new focus is on shows that are dramatic, character-driven, aspirational and authentically anchored in the African-American experience,” said Mills.

“We are confident that content in that vein is going to allow us to more consistently pull big audiences you’ve seen us pull with The New Edition Story, the BET Awards, Being Mary Jane and The Game.”


Here’s a look at some upcoming programming:

Paramount Pictures’ Boomerang has boomeranged back from Viacom’s deep library

Eddie Murphy’s 1992 film Boomerang is being modernized into a 30-minute comedy series, which BET will partner with Paramount TV to produce. The show mines evergreen themes from the OG film like office politics, shown through the lens of today’s culture. Expect to see plotlines develop around gender roles and the relationship between Gen-X and millennials in the workplace.

American Soul explores the life of ambitious yet troubled TV host and producer Don Cornelius

Cornelius was an African-American visionary, albeit one with a tumultuous life. Set in the disco days of 1970s Hollywood, BET’s American Soul delves into Cornelius and his breakout hit, the dance show Soul Train. The 10-episode miniseries will give viewers a taste of “the hippest trip in America.”

Prolific producer Will Packer of Being Mary Jane to executive produce Peachtree Place

Packer’s latest project for the network follows a group of 30-somethings living in Atlanta, trying to build their personal and professional lives. However, the tight-knit group is faced with some unexpected drama as unresolved conflict and secrets from college come to the surface of their adult lives.

Dwayne Johnson backs six-episode docuseries, Finding Justice

Using a documentary format that has proven successful on Viacom’s Paramount Network and other properties, BET will continue to produce Finding Justice, which tells the story of activists, leaders and whistleblowers in the African-American community, all working to seek justice in manifold ways.

Mills praised the upcoming series, which will combine hard-hitting investigative journalism with the artful craft of documentary, shedding light on injustices faced by BET’s own audience.

“In this challenging time of divisiveness and inequality, it is essential that we highlight both the challenges facing African-American communities and the people who are fighting for change,” said Mills.

“It is our hope that this powerful docuseries will engage and empower our audience to continue to fight against the terrible injustices that disproportionately affect our community.”

T.I. brings “the art of the hustle” to BET with new business competition series The Grand Hustle

Grammy award-winning rapper, actor and entrepreneur Tip “T.I.” Harris is looking for fresh talent to work at his business, clothing and record empire The Grand Hustle.

As host of BET’s hot new summer reality competition of the same name, he’ll challenge contestants on their business cred’ to see if they have the hustle it takes to be on his payroll. As to why T.I. opted to find new employees on a reality show rather than hire recruiters?

According to T.I., “It doesn’t matter if you got your hustle at Harvard or the hood…I wanted to create a show that offers an equal playing field.”

The Grand Hustle premieres Thursday, July 19 at 10 p.m.

View the full list of upcoming shows here, and follow @BET on Twitter for more updates.

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