April 4, 2013—BET Networks announced today it has licensed over 100 episodes each of two hit sitcoms, THE FIRST FAMILY and MR. BOX OFFICE, from Entertainment Studios to air on CENTRIC starting April, 2013. Both first-run original series feature recognized and award-winning actors such as Bill Bellamy, Gary Busey, Gladys Knight, Christopher B. Duncan, Kellita Smith, Jackée, Marla Gibbs, John Witherspoon, Jon Lovitz, Rick Fox, Tim Meadows, Essence Atkins and Vivica A. Fox, and are scheduled to premiere in primetime on Centric weeknights beginning Friday April 19, 2013. READ MORE »
Following Debmar-Mercury’s success with the Tyler Perry sitcoms House Of Payne and Meet The Browns and Ice Cube’s Are We There Yet?, another syndication player is trying their hand at the model of accelerated production of urban comedy series for a run in broadcast syndication. Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios has just started filming Mr. Box Office, a pilot for a multi-camera comedy series starring actor/comedian Bill Bellamy. Co-starring in the project, which is aiming at producing a minimum of 104 episodes over two years, are Saturday Night Live alum Tim Meadows, Vivica A. Fox (Independence Day), former NBA star/actor Rick Fox, Keshia Knight Pulliam (Cosby), Jon Lovitz (SNL) and Gary Busey. Allen would not discuss his plans for the project but I sources indicate that Entertainment Studios has teamed on it with Tribune Entertainment and, in success, the show would air on the CW-affiliated stations through Tribune, the main station group carrying the CW. It is unclear whether Mr. Box Office also is targeting a cable run. All sitcoms under Debmar-Mercury’s 10-90 model run on a cable network while amassing episodes for a launch in broadcast syndication: House Of Payne, Meet The Browns and Are We There Yet? on TBS and Charlie Sheen’s upcoming Anger Management on FX. TBS is not aware of the the project at this time. According to sources, Mr. Box Office is eying a primetime launch this fall.