Like most networks, BET announced what’s new and what’s not for its upcoming season during the brand’s Upfront presentation (an opportunity for networks to tout their success, and share new programming/direction to advertisers) in New York City. Frankly, I was very excited to see what executives had in store for BET. I’ve been impressed with how they’ve upgraded the overall quality of programming by acquiring original sitcoms, movies that resonate with the Black community and syndicated programming with predominately Black casts. Still there were some disappointments.
One major “WTH?” moment was one when a high level BET executive commented on the financial impact Black consumers would have in various industries if they decided to read instead of watching television and buying the products advertised during commercials. The anecdote, which was obviously intended to prove to advertisers the buying power of African-Americans, was dwarfed by its latent content: Black viewers don’t read; they watch TV and shop. I couldn’t help but wonder whether such a comment would be made by a Bravo, STYLE or even MTV executive. Would he/she issue a backhanded compliment to viewers by insinuating that reading didn’t resonate with them? Personally, I doubt. The assumption would be they do both. I read books and watch television… and so do most of my African-American friends.
Ironically, and thankfully, BET’s 2013-2014 content doesn’t jibe with the elitist comment made on stage. There were some great new shows added, including a revamped Comic View (featuring comedienne Sommore as the host), the much talked about new movie, and now dramatic series, Being Mary Jane (starring Gabrielle Union), the hit reality show parody Real House Husbands of Hollywood, and T.D. Jakes Presents: Mind, Body & Soul (a talk show spearheaded by the renowned spiritual leader). Also slated to return are some fan favorites: The Game, Sunday’s Best and Black Girls Rock!
Of course, every show didn’t get a call back. Here are some of the highlights of what didn’t make the cut— at least for now.