BET has also hopped on board the nostalgia train, announcing at its upfront presentation Thursday that it plans to revamp “Punk’d,” the hidden-camera show originally hosted by Ashton Kutcher that ran on sister network MTV. A host was not named at the presentation.
The upcoming slate also includes “Zoe Moon,” a sitcom starring Brandy Norwood as a single mom, and “Chasing Destiny,” a singing competition show featuring Destiny’s Child alum Kelly Rowland as she searches for the next big girl group.
“Black consumers experience BET Networks differently than any other network because of our 35 years of history, tremendous experience and insights. We continue to give our viewers what they want – high-quality content that respects, reflects and elevates them,” said BET Networks chair-CEO Debra Lee. “With more hours of original programming than ever before, our new shows coupled with our returning hits like ‘Being Mary Jane’ and ‘Nellyville’ make our original slate stronger than ever.”
BET also announced several docu-series — including one exec produced by Chris “Ludacris” Bridges titled “The Label,” which chronicles the rise and fall of various record labels. There will also be news specials tied to the anniversaries of Hurricane Katrina and the O.J. Simpson trial as well as “Justice & Race,” a documentary exploring whether the justice system is different for African Americans.
“Our brand has always been a trailblazer with our content trending, influencing and leading the culture. With BET Networks, you get celebrity, genuine community, deep audience connection and a rich environment for brand immersion and brand consumption.” said Louis Carr, president of broadcast and advertising media sales, BET Networks.
BET’S FULL SLATE:
NEW PROGRAMMING ON BET
• CHASING DESTINY– “Chasing Destiny” takes us behind the scenes as Grammy Award singer Kelly Rowland, and member of one of the biggest female groups of all time, Destiny’s Child, goes on a quest to find the next big female superstar group to make their mark in a dog-eat-dog music industry. In the series, these singing hopefuls will vie their way to stardom with recording mogul Rowland helping them to find their voice as entertainers. From Den of Thieves and executive producers Jesse Ignjatovic; Evan Prager; Kelly Rowland; Tim Weatherspoon; Danny Rose and co-executive producers Jared Morell and Jordan Barrow.
• ABOUT THE BUSINESS – This docu-series follows a tight-knit group of friends in the elite world of urban Hollywood. During the day, they are all about the business and on their grind in the high-stakes worlds of entertainment. At night, this clique balances career and family while navigating being power players in L.A.’s African American celebrity circles. These true friends have big dreams and big drama, but their problems are always raw and relatable. Stars Eva Marcille, Sparkle Holmes, Danielle Crawley, Crystal Renay and EJ King. Produced by Entertainment One (eOne) and from executive producers Tara Long, David Shaye and Eric Hoberman for eOne, and Shanta Conic.
• CRIMINALS AT WORK –This docu-crime series explores crimes committed around the workplace. From inside jobs to corporate espionage, “Criminals at Work” dramatically illustrates that you may not really know the person in the next cubicle.
• ZOE MOON– A romantic sitcom featuring Zoe Moon (Brandy Norwood), a live-out-loud newly single mom embarking on a new life and career as a fledgling cosmetics mogul — but it won’t be easy. Gemini, a famous boxer and Zoe’s soon to be ex-husband, is not ready to take a back seat in her life, nor is her precocious 8-year-old son, Xavier, ready for Zoe’s new dating life. Surrounded by a cast of colorful characters, Zoe puts a new spin on the old song “You’re Gonna Make It After All!” From executive producers Debra Martin Chase; Scooter Braun; Danny Rose; executive producer-writer Erica Montolfo-Bura and co-executive producer Brandy Norwood.
• THE LABEL – The docu-series will tell the story of the rise…and sometimes fall of the classic record labels over the past 25 years. We’ll talk to the entrepreneurs, the artists, the insiders and key people involved in the creation of the music that defined us over the last quarter century. From executive producers Chaka Zulu; Jeff Dixon and Chris “Ludacris” Bridges.
• DESEAN JACKSON: HOME TEAM — Washington Redskins wide receiver DeSean Jackson is at the top of his game as one of the most talked about and watched players in the NFL today. That means eyes are always on him— waiting for him to score touchdowns and waiting for him to drop the ball off the field. Even though he has the money and the fame, DeSean’s life is actually run by a core group of women including his “momager” Gayle, his sister and assistant A’Dreea, his publicist Denise and his new girlfriend, Kayla. Produced by Rogue Atlas Productions in association with Lionsgate Television. Eli Frankel, Ryan Holcomb, Elise Duran, Desean Jackson and Byron Jackson serve as executive producers. Jay Fragus and Lawrence Bell serve as co-executive producers.
• PUNK’D – A reboot of the popular hidden camera series tailored for the BET audience. For the first time, audiences will be taken behind the scenes as the pranks are conceptualized and carried through. Stakes are high as our viewers follow the ticking clock on the journey of pranking their favorite celebrities. Produced by Katalyst Media and from executive producer Jason Goldberg.
NEW MOVIES/ MEGA-SPECIALS ON BET:
• ROCNATION SPORTS LIVE BOXING – BET Networks steps into the ring with RocNation Sports as their exclusive broadcast partner to air live boxing events. The partnership is the first of its kind for the network and includes airing up to nine live, two-hour telecasts of RocNation Sports throne boxing events over the next 18 months. The first main event fight to air on BET Networks will feature WBA Super Middleweight World Champion Andre Ward (27-0, 14 KO’s) facing former World Title Challenger Paul Smith (35-5, 20 KO’s) of England on Saturday, June 20, 2015 at Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif.
• BROTHERLY LOVE — Set on the backdrop of Philadelphia’s famed Overbrook High School, we track the lives of the nation’s No. 1 high school basketball player, Sergio Taylor, as he deals with the early pressures of hoop fame. Starring Keke Palmer, Cory Hardrict , Romeo Miller, Macy Gray, Malik Yoba, Quincy Brown and Eric Hill. Written and Directed by Jamal Hill. From Flavor Unit Entertainment.
• NOVEMBER RULE — Up-and-coming sports shoe entrepreneur Steve, who is still reeling from the death of his dad, has made a “November rule” in order to keep his distance from the women who seem to be getting too serious about their relationship. Every November 1st, Steve makes up a whopping lie in order to break up with his current girlfriend. However, this year, when he gives the beautiful Leah her walking papers, he realizes his immature and arbitrary rule has just lost him the woman of his dreams. But whether he can win Leah back seems increasingly doubtful, especially after she starts dating pro sports star James Avedon. Starring Tatyana Ali, Mo McRae, DJ Qualls, La La Anthony, Faizon Love, Jay Ellis. Directed by Mike Elliot and executive produced by Flavor Unit Entertainment.
• DEUCES — An ambitious undercover agent, Jason Foster, infiltrates an airtight crime ring ran by a charismatic young boss, Stephen “Deuces” Brooks. In time Jason finds himself identifying more with the criminals than with his own reality. But when Jason finds out Deuces is dating his younger sister, Janet Foster, things become even more complicated as they both become drawn into Deuce’s intrigue. Starring Larenz Tate, Lance Gross and Meagan Good. Written and Directed by Jamal Hill. From Flavor Unit Entertainment.
• S.N.I.T.C.H. – Inspired by the song S.N.I.T.C.H. from Pusha T’s critically acclaimed album – Pusha T plays JR in a story steeped in distrust and apparent betrayal amongst childhood friends. From Flavor Unit Entertainment.
NEW BET NEWS SPECIALS
• KATRINA – 10 YEARS LATER – On the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, we will take a look back at the devastating effects of the storm as well as the current conditions of residents of the 9th Ward and neighborhoods most affected by the flooding. The water has receded but what’s left in its wake.
• O.J. SIMPSON- 20 YEARS LATER – On the 20th anniversary of the acquittal of O.J. Simpson, we will revisit what was billed then as “the trial of the century.” Simpson is currently serving 33 years for robbery, kidnapping, coercion and conspiracy. The documentary will also explore fame vs infamy.
• JUSTICE & RACE – The documentary explores the convergence of hot button issues of Justice and Race in America. It will explore whether the system is different for African Americans through the lens of average citizens as well as high-profile cases including O.J. Simpson, Rodney King, Michael Brown and Eric Garner.
• MUHAMMAD ALI – A biographical tribute to the former heavyweight champion, this news special will connect his boxing prowess as well as his social-media activism to the millennial audience to reveal Ali’s meaning in the world today. Known as “the Greatest” and “the People’s Champion,” Ali remains a global icon. From Creative Control and Executive Producers Clarence “Coodie” Simmons and Chike Ozah.