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.”

via GIPHY

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.

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Erykah Badu Returns as 2017 Soul Train Awards Honor Industry Legends and Newcomers

Solange Knowles and Bruno Mars have soul. At least, BET thinks so.

The network has announced nominations for the BET Presents: 2017 Soul Train Awards, an annual ceremony that recognizes the best in soul, R&B and hip-hop music, honing in on artists from the 1970s—or newcomers whose music is evocative of the disco era.

So far, Solange is leading with seven nominations, including video of the year and song of the year for her hit single, Cranes in the Sky.

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Now Coming to BET: An Extra Helping of Soul

by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

Since 2009, BET has delivered an icon of American culture to screens across the land in the form of the annual Soul Train Awards on Centric, reviving a legacy that stretched back to the original Soul Train musical variety show that rose from the early 1970s and ran until 2006.

Earlier this week, the network made a more substantial commitment, acquiring the whole of Soul Train, including a massive television archive of more than 1,100 episodes and 40 specials.

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Centric ‘Soul Train’ Gains Steam

by Carly Zipp, BET

Cedric the Entertainer onstage at Centric's 3rd Annual Soul Train Awards at the Fox Theatre on Nov. 17, 2011 in Atlanta. (Photo: Paul Abell/PictureGroup)

As Monday’s Content Distribution and Marketing strategy meeting came to a close, Ashley Culp, Centric’s vice president of Partner Marketing, got a little excited. 

“Centric started out as the little engine that could, and now we’re a big revved up Soul Train,” he said.

Culp’s got a point. The 24-hour channel for African-American and multicultural adult viewers continues to steadily pick up steam. Since the network launched in 2009, Centric has posted year-over-year growth in every successive quarter, and last year ranked among the top 10 for fastest growing cable networks.

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