BET gets into ‘The Game’

Cable network acquires CW series

CW series “The Game” is coming to BET.

The cabler network has acquired off-net rights to the comedy series from CBS TV Distribution and will begin airing segs from the show’s first two seasons in February. Deal also gives BET rights to the third season, currently set to air on the CW starting in the fall.

CW has yet to reup the “Girlfriends” spinoff for a fourth year, but sources close to BET said the network is in talks with CBS about possibly adjusting the show’s economic model so that original episodes could be produced for the MTV Networks-owned basic cabler, should CW ultimately pass.

“The Game” stars Tia Mowry, Wendy Raquel Robinson and Brittany Daniels as wives and girlfriends of professional football players.

The show marks the first series acquisition made by Barbara Zaneri, the former Choice Entertainment prexy who recently joined BET as exec VP of acquisitions.

“This is something I went after the minute I got to BET,” she said. “Not only does it have really fresh African-American stars, but it has a great lineup of guest stars. People like Robin Givens and Vivica Fox — these are people who are regularly on our network.”

Working under BET original programming prexy Loretha Jones, who assumed her role following the high-profile departure of Reginald Hudlin last year, Zaneri and her group have also been active on the film acquisitions front.

BET has just acquired rights to ABC’s Emmy-nominated made-for “A Raisin in the Sun,” starring Sean Combs. Network also has cable TV rights to recent theatricals including the T.D. Jakes-adapted “Not Easily Broken” and “Soul Man,” starring the late Bernie Mac.

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