Black Entertainment Television (BET), the network owned by Viacom that specializes in programming for African American viewers, has officially announced that they will be producing the first miniseries in the history of the network. This continues the network’s desire to become a force in the arena of original content. “The Book of Negroes” will be made in six parts and based on the Lawrence Hill novel. The plot involves the capture of Aminata Diallo in Africa, the events that happen to her while she is held as a slave in America and when she is eventually set free in England. It will be produced in partnership with the CBC and eOne. Academy Award winner Cuba Gooding, Jr. and Aunjuane Ellis will star in the miniseries.
However, in an effort to remain relevant in a world where other cable networks such as HBO, Showtime, Starz, AMC and streaming provider Netflix are all producing their own original content, BET has also announced several other original shows in addition to “The Book of Negroes” miniseries. Debra L. Lee, the chairman and CEO of BET Networks, stated that BET’s slate of original programs is stronger than ever. Along with shows such as “Being Mary Jane” and “Real Husbands of Hollywood” that are returning, here is a rundown of the new programs that BET will be launching:
“Got Game”: Hosted by Donnivin Jordan, this show involves single men and women trying to impress people of the opposite sex without using the advantages of their fashion sense or looks.
“Gone Gospel”: Hosted by Kirk Franklin, musicians will compete with one another in new challenges each week as they attempt to rebuild their careers. With life coaches, producers and professional songwriters assisting them along the way, the musicians will attempt to write an anthem that is inspirational while trying to avoid clashing egos with the other contestants.
“The Start Up”: In his scripted series debut, Diggy Simmons will star as Blake Monroe, the creator of TheJetsetters.com, a blog based on lifestyle and entertainment. It will also star Stephanie Charles, Allen Maldonado, Teyana Taylor, Chris Brew and Bria Murphy.