Is The Game Over for Black Television?

Protesters be damned, the CW is still trashing The Game and Everybody Hates Chris. Brace yourselves for a Tyler Perry existence.

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The show didn’t even get a proper goodbye.

Think about it. Neither Moesha, Girlfriends nor The Game had series finales. In Moesha’s last episode, Myles was kidnapped, and there was an unidentified pregnancy test in Moesha’s bedroom. Girlfriends fans were waiting for Joan’s husband-to-be to return from Iraq, and now The Game fans are left to wonder about Jason and Kelly’s broken marriage, Tasha’s romance with Rick Fox and how Melanie is going to cope with the arrival of her husband’s baby by another woman.

The network seems to think the Web will be its salvation. But the CW allowed the Internet to help kill The Game. Thanks to YouTube, there was no real obligation to stay home and watch the show in its kiss-of-death Friday timeslot, right after Everybody Hates Chris. Ratings predictably went down.

By comparison, TBS runs Perry’s House of Payne and Meet the Browns on Wednesday night, when people might actually be at home to watch. Sure, there are the requisite black cast members on reality shows. And shows such as Grey’s Anatomy have helped boost black story lines in dramas. But when it comes to scripted half-hour comedies, the situation for black writers, directors and actors is not the least bit funny.

Fans haven’t given up. There’s a petition for TBS to pick it up The Game. And since BET has it in syndication, it’s getting shopped around there, too. But the network has already slotted several new reality shows in its programming lineup for the fall, all likely much cheaper to produce than a sitcom. Jon Caramanica of the Chicago Tribune suggests that maybe Showtime or HBO could pick up a sexed-up, more drama-filled version of the show. That’s a titillating idea.

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