During its annual upfront presentation in NYC 4/14 at the Nokia Theatre, BET Networks revealed new consumer research, new programming strategy including scripted programs and original movies, and a new direction. Citing its “African Americans Revealed” study, BET reinforced its position as the world’s #1 provider of black content with unprecedented reach to all types of African American consumers across all demos and genres.
Coming off of 2009, BET’s best year ever, the Network is now among the top 20 cable networks in delivery of the 18-49 audience, and is steadily outperforming its cable industry peers. In 2009, BET earned double-digit gains in all of its key demos and, according to Nielsen Media Research. The first quarter of 2010 was the number one quarter performance among adults in network history with an average of 524,000 total viewers.
“We have always been in constant conversation with our audience, but now we are coming into 2010 with a creative mix of original content and key acquisitions that keep our numbers growing,” said Debra Lee, BET Networks CEO. “It is because this creative mix of content gives our audience exactly what they’re seeking — that we’re the number one growth network for African Americans.”
At the presentation, the offered up research and consumer insights through the most comprehensive look at the black consumer market ever, “African Americans Revealed.” The study provides a wide range of insights, but the one that topped the list was the importance of family. In fact, 88% of those studied cited family as their top priority.
According to Nielsen, two out of every three African Americans in BET’s viewer universe tunes into BET at least once a month. And now that the network has just crossed the distribution threshold of 90 million households, that equals 23 million black people.
BET also announced plans to produce original episodes of the highly successful sitcom THE GAME. The Network also announced its partnership with Flavor Unit Entertainment to produce original programs including scripted series LET’S STAY TOGETHER and the original movie, THE COOKOUT 2. Created and executive produced by Jacque Edmonds Cofer, LET’S STAY TOGETHER features an ensemble cast and highlights the challenges of modern relationships of five young, aspirational African Americans. Flavor Unit Entertainment will also produce THE COOKOUT 2, the sequel to the popular feature film, The Cookout, which finds a suspended NBA star playing the game of his life to rescue his family.
The Network also announced that Ed Gordon, the seasoned anchor and Emmy award-winning broadcaster, will be returning to BET News for a variety of news programs and specials.
BET also announced new music and programming specials. 106 & PARK, which has been the number one music/variety show on cable for eleven consecutive quarters, will celebrate its 10th anniversary with two specials — one, a retrospective of some of the show’s biggest moments, and the other, a live, music filled, star-studded celebration. BET also announced a new special that explores the new generation of rappers who debuted in the 21st century, and a partnership with Black Girls Rock, for its first-ever televised Black Girls Rock Awards. This special is a celebration of black women, honoring leading African American women and their achievements.
Centric continues to strike a powerful cord with its audience by offering the best of black culture to viewers. Steve Harvey, the host of the popular syndicated radio morning show, will bring THE STEVE HARVEY PROJECT to Centric in the fall.
Additionally, Centric announced it will be rated by Nielsen starting with the Q2 2010.
LET’S STAY TOGETHER – When two independently minded sisters take the step toward marriage, life puts their love to the test. This sophisticated romantic comedy series keeps its sense of humor as it tackles the intricacies of sex, intimacy, and communication. SCHEDULED TO PREMIERE 1Q 2011
THE LAURIEANN GIBSON PROJECT – Choreographer and principal dancer Laurieann Gibson (Making The Band) knows what it takes to make it, and knows real talent when she sees it. Now Laurieann joins forces with BET to give the next generation of dancers a chance to realize their dreams. Expect dramatic thrills every step of the way until the finale of this intense competition series. SCHEDULED TO PREMIERE 3Q 2011
THE GAME – By popular demand, BET answers the prayers of Sabres fans everywhere. New episodes of THE GAME will be produced by and air exclusively on BET. After enjoying record ratings in syndication, THE GAME, created by Mara Brock Akil and executive produced by Kelsey Grammer and Salim Akil, will follow the lives of the fictitious San Diego Sabres–and the women who love them. SCHEDULED TO PREMIERE 4Q 2010
THE KENNEDYS – BET drops viewers into the world of superstar skateboarder Terry Kennedy as he leverages his fortune and fame for both his extended family and his community. Ride with Terry as he surmounts the obstacles that come with launching an apparel line and breaking ground on a skate park in Watts, California. SCHEDULED TO PREMIERE 4Q 2010
106 & PARK – After ten years and over 2,000 episodes, the network’s flagship music program remains the #1 music video countdown show anywhere on television. 106 & PARK continues to count down the top ten video hits as A-list music, film, television, and sports celebrities appear with hosts Terrence and Rocsi. With new interactive segments, Wild Out Wednesday, Freestyle Friday and the livest audience ever, 106 & PARK amplifies the voice of a generation.
BOBBY JONES GOSPEL – GRAMMY winner Dr. Bobby Jones, Jr., the “Ambassador of Gospel” and host of the longest continuously running original series on cable television, delivers his ministry and praise on the network’s flagship gospel program and the longest-running gospel program on cable. This weekly standout features joyous performances and riveting interviews from gospel music’s most talented entertainers, choirs, evangelists, and others.
THE FAMILY CREWS – America’s favorite sitcom dad Terry Crews (Everybody Hates Chris) has his hands full with his real-world family of seven. Season One saw Terry renew his vows to Rebecca, his dynamic wife of 20 years. The family also prepared for the arrival of their first grandchild. THE FAMILY CREWS is growing up and getting bigger. Let’s see how our action hero handles it all in the second season.
THE MO’NIQUE SHOW – Uncompromising and unstoppable, multiple award winner Mo’Nique (Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild, BAFTA, NAACP Image Award, and Academy Award® for Best Supporting Actress) returns for another incredible season of laugh-out-loud comedy, candid celebrity interviews, and sensational musical guests you won’t see anywhere else. Expect new heights as Mo’Nique continues to change the face of late night.
TOYA – Antonia ‘Toya’ Carter returns to BET after two seasons with best friend Tiny. With the titles of mother, author and reality superstar under her belt, viewers will get to see more of the woman no longer in the shadow of her ex husband, Lil’ Wayne. 2011 belongs to Toya.
NEW PROGRAMMING ON CENTRIC:
VINDICATED – VINDICATED illuminates the journeys of men and women exonerated for crimes they did not commit. This docu-series takes a compassionate, hopeful look at an often painful and unjust past with exonerees adjusting to life beyond prison walls in the present. Hosted by Common. SCHEDULED TO PREMIERE Q1 2011
THE STEVE HARVEY PROJECT – Award-winning comedian and author, Steve Harvey, and his co-hosts light up weekday mornings with the STEVE HARVEY MORNING SHOW. The show features the latest in news, entertainment, and celebrity interviews and the offers dating advice through the popular Strawberry Letter segments and is coming to TV via CENTRIC. SCHEDULED TO PREMIERE 4Q 2010
ALMOST MARRIED – Some walks down the aisle take longer — or take unexpected turns along the way. This original reality series chronicles the path of former SUNDAY BEST competitors Latice Crawford and Jeff Spain, a young, faithful African American couple on their way to marital bliss, from setting the date to jumping the broom. SCHEDULED TO PREMIERE 4Q 2010
RETURNING SHOWS ON CENTRIC:
LEADING MEN – Meet the LEADING MEN who live their lives in public and allow viewers to take a rare look at their private side. Prominent African American men who have impacted American culture artistically, socially, and politically are candid and revealing.
LEADING WOMEN – One-on-one conversations provide an intimate look at the private lives of dynamic, powerful sisters who lead. Learn how these LEADING WOMEN make time for family, work, friendships, and most of all, themselves.
SOUL TRAIN AWARDS – Showcasing the evolution of SOUL TRAIN’s impact on musical history from the ’70s to now, the new SOUL TRAIN AWARDS is all about the melodic marriage of music and dance.