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BET net sets monthly romance telepic sked

Three original adaptations to bow this spring

NEW YORK — Black Entertainment TV has drawn up a once-a-month primetime spring schedule for three more original movies adapted from romance novels in the Arabesque Books series and produced by BET Movies.

“These are love stories with no moral messages,” said Jeff Clanagan, co-executive producer of the three latest with Nina Henderson-Moore, who’s also president and chief operating officer of BET Movies.

The titles are “Fire & Ice,” starring Kadeem Hardison (“A Different World”) and Lark Voorhies (“Saved By the Bell”), preeming on BET April 6; “Commitments,” featuring Allen Payne (“The Perfect Storm”) and Victoria Dillard (“The Best Man”), May 4; and “One Special Moment,” with Obba Babatunde (“Dawson’s Creek”) and singer Shanice Wilson, June 1.

Clanagan said the movie budgets average about $1 million, which is less than a third the cost of a typical cable telepic. BET Movies can produce them so cheaply and even get from eight to 10 location shots plugged into each picture, Clanagan said, because of minimal above-the-line expenses for actors, directors and writers.

BET still hasn’t concluded any deals for homevideo release of the Arabesque movies or distribution in foreign markets and domestic aftermarkets. But Clanagan said BET is working on getting equity partners in each of these areas.

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