Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Good Job, BET. Now Keep It Up.

Relatively intelligent, scripted entertainment made for Black people, by Black people?  On BET?  Wow.  Just--wow.

Last night's broadcast of "The Game" was truly a great moment in American TV.  Almost 8 million viewers tuned in to see Melanie, Derwin, Kelly, Jason, Malik and Tasha Mack 2.0.  Those are darn-near Jersey Shore ratings, people!  It was the highest ad-supported sitcom premiere in cable history.


The significance of its success isn't related to the writing, which was decent, btw.  It was a little over-the-top in comparison to previous seasons, but hey, they had to prove to the network and the world that their resurrection from the TV grave was justified.

It had little to do with the acting, which was okay, with the exception of Terrence J (Tasha Mack's boy toy) trying a little too hard at times.

It's all about the fact that the efforts of its committed Black audience made last night possible.  After the dramedy was canceled by the CW, viewers continued to show their love for "The Game" through internet campaigns to bring the show back, and BET took notice, acquiring syndication rights in 2009.

BET's ratings for the show's old episodes were often greater than those received by the CW, and higher than those of other shows currently on the network.  Smart execs did the math and moved forward to create new scripted episodes with the same creative team (Mara Brock Akil and husband Salim Akil), writers and actors.

In sum, "The Game's" success is wholly a Black affair.  Yes, I know Kelsey Grammer is a producer, but you know Ms. Akil made it happen.  Whether you like the show or not, it beat the odds, and that is something to celebrate, especially when there are so few Black faces on TV and behind the scenes at the major networks.

I sincerely hope that Hollywood is paying attention.  Last night proved that well-scripted, one-hour shows for Black audiences of ALL classes can be successful again.   

A toast to "The Game," BET and the death of buffoonery's monopoly on our sets...Amen and Amen.

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