'The Game' Producers Sign Major BET Deal

They'll play an important role in strategic planning for the network and create new scripted shows. Good news?

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Salim and Mara Brock Akil (Holywood Reporter)

Salim and Mara Brock Akil, executive producers of The Game, have signed a multiyear production deal with BET, Shadow and Act reports.

It’s not hard to see why BET would want to hang on to these two. The Game premiered to 7.7 million viewers in January and became the No. 1 sitcom in ad-supported cable-TV history after having been previously aired and canceled by the CW. Salim is also the director of Jumping the Broom, the black blockbuster of the moment. Mara created the fan favorite sitcom Girlfriends in 2000.

"Our goal is to expand on our existing brand by way of Akil Productions to create new opportunities for ourselves and others," said the Akils in a joint statement. "BET has provided us with a tremendous platform to create smart, funny and dramatic, quality programming with multilayered and multidimensional characters appealing to millions of viewers."

The contract includes a three-year agreement, and the Akils have committed to creating new, original series for the network. ”This is a very important deal for us. It reflects our belief in [the Akils] as storytellers and creators and our commitment to the world of scripted TV in general ... Mara and Salim are going to play a very important role in our strategic planning for this channel going forward," said Loretha Jones, head of original programming for BET Networks.

Most of all, the deal is an unambiguous indicator of the network’s direction. Whether you’re a diehard fan, a lukewarm viewer who thinks The Game fizzled after its CW days, a cultural critic who throws your hands up at the network's portrayal of black characters or a member of the "sigh, at least it's better than Tyler Perry" contingent, you can't say they didn't tell you what to expect.

Read more at Shadow and Act.

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