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.

Fans of The Game have been all over the Internet for the past several months, trying to save the canceled CW show with online petitions, Tweets, Facebook-status dedications and e-mail chains lamenting the show’s unceremonious demise. In an effort to save the show, the cast recorded a YouTube video, Change the Game Campaign, to get fans to blow up the message boards on

To capitalize on the uproar, BET last week aired an eight-hour The Game marathon. I took the bait and ended up having a two-hour Tweetfest with friends, debating our favorite episodes and characters.

But the save The Game campaign isn’t just about missing its snappy one-liners. The recent cancellation of The Game and the also popular Everybody Hates Chris has drastically reduced the number of black faces on network television. It’s as if network producers have decided that only Tyler Perry’s brand of pandering, lowest-common-denominator blackness is fit for prime time.

According to the New York Times, the CW canceled the show because it was looking to fill its fall 2009 lineup with shows to “text about,” “blog about,” “chat about” and even “tweet about.” It has added three shows—none of them built around black characters—including a throwback to the ‘90s with a new millennium version of Melrose Place.

Mara Brock Akil, The Game’s executive producer, sounded off on the cancellation on Rushmore Drive, “Somehow, because my characters were of color, my shows don’t count as much,” she said. “Successfully producing 236 episodes (172 episodes of Girlfriends plus 64 episodes of The Game) of television doesn’t have as much value. But that is the plight of being black in this business. That is the plight of being a woman in this business.”