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Produced By: It’s Not Just The Hair – How To Court The Female Audience

As women’s roles continue to expand in society, so too are their roles growing on television. More than ever, capturing the female audience is vital to a show’s success, and that was the subject of Sunday’s smart and funny “Courting the Female Audience” panel at the Producers Guild‘s Produced By conference.

Mara Brock-Akil“Women are looking for nuance,” said Mara Brock-Akil, creator and executive producer of Being Mary Jane and The Game. “We’re not all beautiful and gorgeous.”

Women are also, it would appear, looking for zombies, or at least one particular set of them. “The Walking Dead is the No. 1  show for women,” said Marc Juris, WE TV president and general manager. Either way, “Female viewers are much more demanding and discerning,” said Matt Warburton, executive producer of Fox’s The Mindy Project. “They care about the quality of a show. For men, fart jokes and an explosion are enough.”

So-called “procedurals” – those ubiquitous, based-on-a-real-story crime dramas – remain popular with older women in particular, the panelists agreed, although moderator Debra Birnbaum, a contributing editor at Variety, said she finds it “hard to deal with” all the genre’s “rape and torture.” Notwithstanding The Real Housewives of Pretty Much Everywhere, reality shows offer some of the best opportunities for female viewers to see real women like themselves dealing with everyday issues that affect their lives. “Reality does a much better job,” Juris said.

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BET Greenlights Its First Miniseries; Renews ‘The Game’, ‘Real Husbands’ & ‘The Game’ & ‘Being Mary Jane’

By | Thursday April 24, 2014 @ 5:28pm PDT

BET announced its firstbetnet__130116222454 miniseries as part of its upcoming lineup presented to advertisers at its upfront today in New York. The network also confirmed an eighth season for The Game, Season 3 for The Real Husbands Of Hollywood and a previously announced second season for Being Mary Jane, along with renewals for video countdown series 106 And Park. Cuba Gooding Jr., Louis Gossett Jr and Aunjanue Ellis star in the six-part miniseries The Book Of Negroes, a historical drama based on the Commonwealth Prize-winning novel by Lawrence Hill. It tells the story of Aminita Diallo, who was abducted at age 11 from her village in West Africa and sent to live as a slave in South Carolina. The story follows her capture and her enslavement in America, eventually ending with her emancipation in England. BET is producing in partnership with eOne and The CBC. Read More »

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Brittany Daniel Upped To Regular On BET’s ‘The Game’; A.J. Buckley In CBS’ Wall Street Drama Pilot

By | Tuesday April 1, 2014 @ 5:38pm PDT

After recurring in four episodes of Brittanydaniel1Season 7 of The Game, Brittany Daniel has been promoted to regular on the hit BET comedy series, which has just been picked up for an eighth season. Daniel, repped by APA, Inphenate and attorney Doug Stone, plays Kelly on the series, which follows the “football family” of the San Diego Sabers, exec produced by Mara Brock Akil, Salim Akil, Kenny Smith, Erica Montolfo-Buro and Kelsey Grammer. Daniel also appeared in The Game when it aired on the CW. It was canceled by that network in May 2009 and resuscitated by BET in early 2011. Daniels other TV credits include VH1′s Totally Awesome and a recurring role on It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia.
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TCA: BBC America Bags ’70s Espionage Thriller ‘The Game’, Takes Over Natural History Programming From Discovery; John Simm Cast In ‘Intruders’

By | Saturday January 11, 2014 @ 1:59pm PST

BBC America The GameBBC America announced this morning it had picked up a six part ’70s-set espionage thriller The Game from Toby Whithouse. Brian Cox stars in the project which is set to debut in the fall BBCA GM Perry Simon announced. Simon noted the network had its best year ever, ratings wise, including its best fourth quarter ever, its best December ever and its best Christmas ever with the Doctor Who special. “This Jew finally believes in Santa Claus,” he joked.

Simon also announced 24 Hours on Earth will premiere Tuesday March 11 at 9 PM as part of the network’s new BBC Earth programming block on Tuesday evenings. The production is a second-by-second virtual day and shows how animals and plants exploit specific moments in the 24-hour cycle. Simon told TV critics attending Winter TV Press Tour 2014  “how personally excited I am to begin migrating this programing over to BBC America. I really think this content can be transformative for our channel.” Read More »

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Jere Burns Upped On ‘Justified’, Michael Rispoli, Ruth Negga, Danielle Nicolet In Arcs

Nellie Andreeva

Jere Burns has been upped to regular after four seasons as a recurring on FX’s Justified. Burns plays menacing heroin dope dealer Winn Duffy, who offered a partnership to Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins) in the Season 4 finale. His recent roles include the cable dramas Breaking Bad, Bates Motel and Burn Notice. Burns is repped by Innovative Artists and Trademark Talent.

Ruth Negga has booked a recurring arc on ABC’s new superhero series Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. No intel on her role, which is the Irish actress’ first U.S. TV role. Her credits include the features All Is By My Side, Una Vida and Noble and the UK series Love/Hate, Secret State and Misfits. Negga is with ICM Partners, Principal LA and Jonty Brook in the UK. Read More »

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BET’s ‘The Game’ Season Six Finale Scores Strong Female Stats

By | Wednesday September 4, 2013 @ 5:07pm PDT

An average of 3.8 million people watched the sixth-season finale of BET’s The Game at 10 PM last night, and 1.9 million watched the replay at 10:30. The episode is this season’s No. 1 comedy series telecast on all of cable among women 18-49 (1.7 million). The sitcom that follows the “football family” of the San Diego Sabers — exec produced by Mara Brock Akil, Salim Akil, Kenny Smith, Erica Montolfo-Buro and Kelsey Grammer — wound up its third consecutive season as cable’s leading weeknight sitcom in 18-49. BET announced in April that the former CW comedy series (canceled by that network in May of ’09, resuscitated by BET in  early ’11) had been picked up for a seventh season.

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BET Scores With Return Of ‘The Game’ & ‘Being Mary Jane’ Debut

By | Wednesday July 3, 2013 @ 3:15pm PDT

The midseason return of BET’s The Game and the pilot premiere of Being Mary Jane proved a winner for the cable network last night. The 90-minute Being Mary Jane was the highest-rated show on cable and the second-highest-rated program on all of TV on Tuesday with a 2.0 rating. Only NBC’s America’s Got Talent did better in adults 18-49 last night with its 2.3 rating. Starring Gabrielle Union, the 10:30 PM-midnight telecast from BET Productions and Akil Productions pulled in 4.013 million viewers and is the top weeknight primetime TV movie of the year in 18-49 and women 18-49. The Being Mary Jane series is set to debut in 2014. Meanwhile, the mid-Season 6 return of The Game saw the sports comedy score a 1.7 rating with 3.589 million viewers at 10 PM. Read More »

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BET Renews ‘The Game’, Officially Picks Up ‘Being Mary Jane’ To Series, Revives ‘ComicView’, Orders T.D. Jakes Talk Show

By | Tuesday April 2, 2013 @ 2:00pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

BET NetworksBET today unveiled its slate of new and returning series to advertisers at its upfront presentation in Los Angeles. Mara Brock Akil was front and center as her hit comedy series The Game was renewed for a seventh season, and her newest project, drama Being Mary Jane, originally picked up as a movie, was formally ordered to series. Other new series pitched to advertisers include a revival of standup showcase ComicView after a five-year hiatus, a weekly talk show starring Bishop T.D. Jakes, and Burns BBQ, a reality series produced by Arthur Smith. The network had the attendees on their feet with a performance by Chaka Khan, who sang her anthem Tell Me Something Good. With multiple cable networks, including OWN, looking to tap into the strong and loyal Black TV audiences, BET’s president of original programming Loretha Jones touted BET as being “better connected” to the African-American community than any other network. Here are details about BET and sibling Centric’s new and returning series:


· BEING MARY JANE– From the producers of the award-winning, record breaking BET comedy THE GAME, GIRLFRIENDS and box-office hits JUMPING THE BROOM and SPARKLE comes an original series starring the gorgeous and talented Gabrielle Union. The series is a follow up to the release of the BEING MARY JANE movie of the week slated to launch on BET this summer. Read More »

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BBC1 Orders ‘Strange’ Series & Dramas From ‘Downton’ Producer, ‘Being Human’ Creator

By | Friday November 30, 2012 @ 4:57am PST

Ramping up its event drama output, BBC One has commissioned three new series for 2013. Period fantasy drama Jonathan Strange And Mr Norrell is a six-part series based on the best-selling novel by Susanna Clarke and adapted by Wallander‘s Peter Harness. The book is an alternate history of England set during the Napoleonic Wars and focusing on a magician and his apprentice who use their powers to help the government but who are ultimately pitted against one another. New Line optioned the movie rights back in 2005 with Christopher Hampton adapting, but the film was never made. The series is produced by Cuba Pictures in association with Feel Film and Farmoor. Cuba recently produced Rufus Norris’ well-received festival title Broken. Toby Haynes, who directed the Season 2 Sherlock finale, The Reichenbach Fall, is helming. Nick Hirschkorn and Nick Marston are producers, Justin Thomson-Glover, Patrick Irwin and Matthew Read are exec producers. Read More »

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‘The Game’ Adds Regular, Disney Channel Pilot ‘Bits & Pieces’ Assembles Cast

By | Friday June 22, 2012 @ 11:53am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Newcomer Jay Ellis has landed a new series regular role on the BET comedy series The Game. He will play Blue, a running back and the No.1 draft pick from an Ivy League school who is highly educated and often the smartest person in the room. But even though he is bright, he is still a young man who has a lot to learn about life, love and himself. Ellis is with TalentWorks and Main Title. The Game also recently cast Lauren London as a new regular.

Disney Channel has assembled the cast of its family sitcom pilot Bits & Pieces, which just started production in Los Angeles. Dove Cameron (Shameless), Cozi Zuehlsdorff (Dolphin Tale) and Benjamin King (Weeds) are set to star in the pilot, directed and executive produced by Andy Fickman. Written and executive produced by John D. Beck and Ron Hart (Shake It Up), Bits & Pieces tells stories of a family through vignettes rather than narrative episodic TV in a strategy to deconstruct the typical multi-camera sitcom structure into something that may spark with a generation accustomed to watching content in short bits online. Told from the point of view of the family’s opinionated, image-conscious 16-year-old daughter Alana (Cameron), it’s a tale of a blended family who must survive each other both at home and at school. Cameron is with Abrams and Industry.

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BET Orders New Series, Including Comedy With Craig And Damien Wayans, Renews ‘The Game’, ‘Let’s Stay Together’ & ‘Reed’

By | Thursday April 12, 2012 @ 1:00pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

A slew of programming announcements out of BET’s upfront presentation, which is going on right now Los Angeles. The network has greenlighted three new primetime series, including comedies Second Generation Wayans, co-written by and starring Craig and Damien Wayans, nephews of the Wayans Brothers — Keenan, Damon, Shawn and Marlon — and “scripted fake reality show” House Husbands, inspired by the popular skit from the BET Awards. It stars Kevin Hart, whom BET’s programming president Stephen G. Hill described as “hotter than fish grease.”  The third series is as crime docu-reality series The Mathis Project starring Judge Greg Mathis. The network also announced new late-night series Don’t Sleep With T.J. Holmes starring the former CNN anchor who signed a deal with BET late last year and the return of Apollo Live as music competition series on sister channel Centric produced by Jamie Foxx. According to Deadline contributor Diane Haithman, who is at the presentation, Hill described Don’t Sleep “a vision of the world from a smart black point of view” and called it a first foray for the network into late night political satire that he hopes will break the mold.  “You hear late night, you think of a certain format and formula,” he said. “We are going to find that perfect blend of sharp wit and hilarity.”

BET confirmed the renewal of all 3 of BET’s scripted series, The Game, Let’s Stay Together & Reed Between The Lines. Read More »

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BET Renews Comedy Series ‘The Game’ And ‘Let’s Stay Together’

By | Tuesday April 10, 2012 @ 2:12pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: I hear that BET has quietly renewed its flagship comedy series The Game for a sixth season (third on the cable network), and the Queen Latifah-produced sophomore Let’s Stay Together for a third. The pickups, which I hear are for 22 episodes, are not official yet and are expected to be announced at BET’s upfront presentation on Thursday. Additionally, I hear that BET is mulling a renewal of freshman comedy Reed Between The Lines. BET, whose current foray into scripted comedy series started an year and a half ago with the pickup of The Game after it had been canceled by the CW, is quickly expanding its portfolio. In addition to the three existing original series, the network is in pre-production on hourlong pilot Being Mary Jane starring Gabrielle Union and sitcom Young Man On Campus starring Jacob Latimore, which originated as an episode of Reed this past season. In growing its scripted business, BET has relied on two key players, Mara Brok Akil, creator/executive producer of both The Game and Being Mary Jane, and Jacque Edmonds, creator/executive producer of Let’s Stay Together and Young Man On Campus and executive producer of Reed. After launching on BET with staggering 7.7 million viewers to rank the top-rated ad-supported sitcom broadcast in cable history, The Game‘s most recent season premiered with impressive 5.3 million viewers. Let’s Stay Together‘s second … Read More »

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‘Ugly Betty’s Michael Urie Gets Lead In ‘Partners’, Pooch Hall Joins ‘Ray Donovan’

By | Thursday February 16, 2012 @ 11:16am PST
Nellie Andreeva

Ugly Betty alum Michael Urie has landed one of the leads in CBS’ half-hour pilot Partners. The multicamera comedy, from Will & Grace creators Max Mutchnick and David Kohan, centers on lifelong friends and business partners — one straight and one gay (Urie). Urie, repped by Gersh and Seven Summits, joins recently cast Sophia Bush, who plays the other guy’s fiance. James Burrows is directing. He currently stars on Broadway in How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying.

Pooch Hall (The Game) has joined the cast of Showtime’s drama pilot Ray Donovan starring Liev Schreiber. Written by Ann Biderman and directed by Allen Coulter, the Showtime-produced project centers on Ray (Schreiber), a professional “fixer” for LA’s rich and famous who can make anyone’s problems disappear, except the ones created by his own family. Hall will play Daryll, a young fighter who trains at Terry Donovan’s Fite Club, a boxing gym owned by Ray’s brother (Eddie Marsan). Hall is best known for his role as professional football player Derwin Davis on The Game. He will continue on the hit BET comedy, but it will be in second position to Ray Donovan beyond the current fifth season. Hall, repped by Abrams Artists and attorney Jonathan Shikora, was recently seen in the feature Jumping The Broom, directed by The Game‘s … Read More »

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‘The Game’ Opens Season 2 With 5.3 Million Viewers, ‘Dance Moms’ Hits Series High

By | Wednesday January 11, 2012 @ 2:13pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

The Game solidified its status as a smash hit by drawing 5.3 million viewers for its Season 5 premiere. It was down 31% from its record-setting BET premiere last year (7.7 million) but higher than most scripted series on cable. Season 2 of The Game‘s companion sitcom, Let’s Stay Together, launched with 3.5 million viewers, down 20%.

Over at Lifetime, unscripted series Dance Moms continued its momentum, opening its second season with 2.5 million viewers, up 150% from the show’s series premiere in the summer. Among adults 18-49, Dance Moms drew 1.2 million, up 126%.

Meanwhile, A&E’s new original series Shipping Wars averaged 3 million total viewers for its premiere with back-to-back episodes, 1.6 million adults 18-49 and 25-54.

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It’s Official: BET Renews ‘The Game,’ ‘Let’s Stay Together,’ Picks Up ‘Reed Between The Lines’

By | Wednesday April 20, 2011 @ 9:40am PDT

BET Networks is set to unveil its full lineup, which we told you about over the weekend, during its upfront presentation today in New York. Here’s the network’s release in advance of the event:

NEW YORK – April 20, 2011 – Coming off of the success of its best year ever in 2010 and best quarter ever for 1Q’11, BET Networks announced that it will unveil a brand new slate of programming for BET and CENTRIC at its 2011 Upfront presentation at the Best Buy Theater in New York. During the event, BET plans to announce that it will continue its focus on original scripted content with a new sitcom, REED BETWEEN THE LINES, starring Tracee Ellis Ross and Malcolm-Jamal Warner. The Network will also unveil new scripted web originals, LENOX AVENUE and THE COME UP, and also its first ever sci-fi thriller web series, ODESSA and ASYLUM, all of which will run across all BET Digital platforms—, BET Mobile and BET On Demand. BET will also announce another season of THE GAME and a second season of LET’S STAY TOGETHER. In addition to scripted programming, BET will also introduce a new music docu-series, THE MESSAGE, which is a four part series about the music, the culture and the message of hip-hop. The Network will also bring back a number of its popular returning series and tent poles including BLACK GIRLS ROCK!, SUNDAY BEST and the BET AWARDS ‘11.

“This is the year that our audience, advertisers and partners have

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BET Renews ‘The Game’ & ‘Together,’ Picks Up ‘Reed Between The Lines’ To Series

By | Sunday April 17, 2011 @ 11:57pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

No surprise here — I hear BET has quietly renewed its blockbuster comedy series The Game for a fifth season. The cable network may hold the official announcement until its upfront presentation on Wednesday, but word is that Season 5 may be bigger than the 13-episode Season 4, probably for 22 episodes. Also expected to get a renewal is BET’s freshman comedy Let’s Stay Together, which was recently paired with The Game. Meanwhile, I hear Reed Between the Lines, the network’s comedy pilot produced by and starring former Girlfriends star Tracee Ellis Ross as a busy psychiatrist, is getting a series order. Malcolm-Jamal Warner co-stars in the project written by Kellie Griffin. The Game, which was canceled by the CW in 2009, started off with staggering 7.7 million tuning in for its fifth-season premiere on BET and ended the season on a high note with 4.4 million viewers for the finale. This is the second comedy series canceled by a broadcast network to successfully relaunch on cable and land a renewal in the past couple of weeks, following the two-season pickup for Futurama at Comedy Central. Let’s Stay Together, executive produced by Queen Latifah, averaged 2.9 million viewers.

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‘The Game’ Makes Big Return On BET

By | Wednesday January 12, 2011 @ 1:14pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

The CW may be having second thoughts about canceling The Game and getting out of the comedy business. The return of The Game on BET, which resurrected Mara Brock Akil’s series months after the CW axed it, drew a massive audience of 7.7 million viewers last night for the sitcom’s fourth season premiere. That is the most watched series telecast on the network, and No. 2 overall, behind the 2009 BET Awards, which drew 10.2 million viewers days after the death of Michael Jackson. BET’s other new scripted comedy, Let’s Stay Together, did solid business too, attracting 4.4 million for its debut.

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Primetime Pilot Panic: ’90210′ Picked Up; ‘Rich Girls’ Probably; CW Renews ‘Game’


2ND UPDATE: I hear How To Teach Filthy Rich Girls (WBTV/Alloy) is ”probably” picked up at CW, It was considered a slam dunk, like 90210. (Is it true HTTFRG‘s title has been changed to “Surviving The Filthy Rich”?)

UPDATE: I’ve just been told that, as expected, the CW has picked up 90210, the spinoff to Beverly Hills, 90210. I reported earlier that it received the OK to hire writers. I hear the deal is closed with Gabe Sachs and Jeff Judah to run the show, and the script is being rewritten. CW renewed The Game for another season. Both are CW/CBS Paramount shows. Meanwhile, the town is still waiting on CW news for Reaper. The network is pairing the Tyra Banks/Ken Mok contest show Stylista with that duo’s America’s Next Top Model. And Variety reports that the CW has pacted with indie producers Media Rights Capital to program the Sunday night lineup this fall, with MRC on board to produce two comedies and two dramas for the block aimed at adults 18-to-49, not CW’s younger demos, and the specific shows will be announced at Tuesday’s upfront presentation.

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