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BET Sets New Comedies, Rebrands Centric and Nabs ‘The Breaks,’ ‘Hit the Floor’ From VH1

BET has ordered a slew of new series for the coming year, including scriped and unscripted comedies from Kevin Hart, Steve Harvey, Wanda Sykes and “The Nightly Show” alum Robin Thede.

The Viacom cabler also confirmed it will pick up the second season of hip-hop drama “The Breaks,” which is moving from sibling channel VH1, and produce new episodes of VH1’s dance-set drama “Hit the Floor.”

BET Networks chairman-CEO Debra Lee was scheduled to unveil the programming news Thursday at the cabler’s upfront presentation in New York. BET also confirmed that its struggling spinoff channel Centric will be rebranded BET Her.

“BET’s global influence is stronger than ever and we are continuing to expand beyond the television screen to impact our audience – and the world – across multiple platforms,” Lee said. “Some networks offer reach and some engagement, but no other network offers reach, engagement, culture, lifestyle and influence.”

BET’s new series include the scripted half-hour dramedy “Divorce Saved My Marriage,” produced by Kevin Hart; “50 Central,” a variety and sketch comedy series from 50 Cent; “Mancave,” a roundtable discussion show produced by Steve Harvey; and “Face Value,” a gameshow produced by Wanda Sykes. Thede, who was head writer and a featured player on Comedy Central’s “Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore,” will host a weekly news wrap series “The Rundown with Robin Thede,” which is exec produced by Chris Rock.

BET is also looking to capitalize on its success earlier this year with “The New Edition Story” by greenlighting biopics on Bobby Brown and famed Death Row Records founder Suge Knight.

The rebranding of Centric as BET Her is an effort to strengthen the channel’s appeal to African-American women. Centric launched in October 2009 as a rebrand of what was then BET on Jazz.

“The Breaks,” set in the world of 1990s hip-hop in New York, bowed in February with its primary run on VH1. BET has already carried reruns of the series and the telepic that was the back-door pilot.

“Hit the Floor,” about the dance team aligned with a fictional basketball team, ran for three seasons on VH1 but hasn’t been on the air in a year. The network shuffle for “Breaks” and “Hit the Floor” comes as Viacom cablers are undergoing a broad strategic shift to direct more resources to six core channels, of which BET is one.

Among returning shows, BET said it has renewed “The Quad,” the collegiate drama starring Anika Noni Rose.

Here’s a rundown of BET’s new programs:

DIVORCE SAVED MY MARRIAGE – From Executive Producer Kevin Hart comes “DIVORCE SAVED MY MARRIAGE,” a new 30-minute scripted dramedy, based on the stand up of David A. Arnold, that turns relationships and marriage inside out.  When a couple realizes that divorce is the only thing they can agree on, their attorney recommends a financial plan instead of a court date – forcing them to work together so they can finally afford to be apart.  “DIVORCE SAVED MY MARRIAGE” is executive produced and created by Devon K. Shepard and David A. Arnold, with Kevin Hart and Dave Becky serving as Executive Producers.

FORMAT: 30-minute Scripted Comedy

NUMBER OF EPISODES: 10

THE RUNDOWN WITH ROBIN THEDE – BET joins forces with Executive Producer Chris Rock to bring the African American female voice to late night news satire: “THE RUNDOWN WITH ROBIN THEDE.”  Comedian and former head writer and contributor for “The Nightly Show,” Robin Thede, gives her hilariously unique take on the week’s headlines in politics and pop culture in a fast-paced, no-holds-barred late night show featuring biting social commentary, sharp sketch comedy and in-your-face pop culture parody. From the team behind “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee,” “THE RUNDOWN WITH ROBIN THEDE” is produced by JAX MEDIA with Chris Rock and Robin Thede serving as Executive Producers.  Tony Hernandez, Lilly Burns, John Skidmore and Genevieve Anniello also executive produce.

FORMAT: 30-minute Late Night Comedy

NUMBER OF EPISODES: 24

BET’s MANCAVE – Executive Producer Steve Harvey and BET are opening the door to “BET’s MANCAVE” – a no-holds-barred conversation among five men brave enough to be honest and vulnerable, as they laugh it up and get serious about hot-button topics. Hosted by award-winning journalist Jeff Johnson – and featuring actors, athletes, and comedians, among others – this topical weekly event series brings together African American men with wildly diverse opinions to dissect current hot topics in entertainment, politics, news and beyond.  Through humor, genuine emotion and heated debate, the panel will discuss their own opinions and experiences, while revealing what it’s really like to navigate the world as an African American man. With unfiltered honesty, “BET’s MANCAVE” is the ultimate ‘bro-out’ session that reflects how complex men’s thoughts actually are.  “BET’s MANCAVE” is created by Jeff Johnson and produced by Truly Original and East 112th Street Productions. Johnson serves as Executive Producer, alongside Truly Original’s Steven Weinstock, Glenda Hersh and Bryan Hale. Steve Harvey and Gerald Washington also serve as Executive Producers for 112th Street Productions.

FORMAT: 30-minute Late Night Comedy

NUMBER OF EPISODES: 12

FACE VALUE – From Push It Productions and Executive Producer, Wanda Sykes, “FACE VALUE” is a groundbreaking new game show that will finally answer the age-old question, “Can you judge a book by its cover?”  The veteran actress, comedienne and LGBT advocate knows what it’s like to be prejudged, so this series is flipping the script to award cash and prizes for correctly guessing facts about strangers from all walks of life – based solely on their appearance and a few personal details.  Hosted by Deon Cole (“black-ish,”Barbershop), “FACE VALUE” will humorously break down stereotypes, expose prejudices, and celebrate the human spirit by highlighting the commonalities and differences among people of various backgrounds, races, religions, beliefs and life experiences.  Push It Productions’ Wanda Sykes and Page Hurwitz serve as Executive Producers along with Lance Crouther.

FORMAT: 30-minute Late Night Comedy

NUMBER OF EPISODES: 24

50 CENTRAL – Award-winning rapper, entrepreneur, actor and producer, the iconic Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, storms BET’s airwaves to take variety and sketch comedy to the next level with “50 CENTRAL.” BET’s first variety comedy showcase will be unlike anything seen from the genre before.  Along with unprecedented sketches, there will be hidden camera pranks, musical performances, and A-list celebrity guests to create the ultimate late night party – all handpicked and hosted by 50 Cent.  Few artists have had as much crossover success as Jackson and he showcases his talents as an MC, actor and producer for a fresh take on the variety series.  “50 CENTRAL” is produced by G-Unit Film & Television in partnership with Back Roads Entertainment with Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, Stephen J. Savva, Colby Gaines and Riley Robbins serving as Executive Producers and Michael A. Blum serving as Co-Executive Producer.

FORMAT: 30-minute Late Night Variety

NUMBER OF EPISODES: 24

LOVE ROOM – “LOVE ROOM” is a daring social experiment that brings together individuals who have almost given up on finding a relationship and falling in love.  Much more than a single date, two sexy, single strangers will meet and live together for a week to see if a relationship blossoms.  Having struck out with blind dates and dating apps, the couples will work through challenges that test their resolve and compatibility.  This “full immersion” relationship will accelerate the dating process, challenging the couple to reveal their deepest secrets, face their own insecurities, overcome their fears and set aside their baggage to find true love.  “LOVE ROOM” is produced by Eastern, producers of the hit “Love & Hip Hop” franchise. Toby Barraud, Stefan Springman, Mala Chapple, Carmen Mitcho and Sean David Johnson are Executive Producers for Eastern.

FORMAT: 60-minute Unscripted

NUMBER OF EPISODES: 10

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