Here's an upcoming show for me on BET: "Crews Control," a reality docu skein revolving around thesp Terry Crews, best known as the dad from "Everybody Hates Chris," his wife of 20 years, Rebecca, and their five kids, age 3 to 22.
Crews never fails to make me laugh. His family (pictured at last year's "Wall-E" preem) seems to be adorable and wholesome as apple pie.
The "Crews Control" announcement came as part of a startling announcement from BET today at its upfront event in Gotham. After years of deflecting criticism that it put profitahead of any consideration of its audience's needs by pushing lowest-common-denominator and low-cost programming, the cabler has decided to take a more enlightened route.
Call it the Obama effect. Or as BET chief Debra Lee told the crowd of advertisers Thursday:
"Given the historic change our country has experienced, this is the perfect time for BET Networks to re-examine where we are as a company and what we can be for our audience," said Lee. "As the number one African American media company in the world, we have a unique opportunity to make the world of our audience better and provide them with quality entertainment that speaks to where they are in their lives and where they want to go. BET's reinvigorated approach is built on supporting families, embracing and encouraging their dreams, focusing on the issues that are important to them and presenting the freshest talent and entertainment."
In addition to "Crews Control," which is slated to bow early next year, the new-model BET will feature such new shows as:
THE MO'NIQUE SHOW: Whatever the subject, when Mo'Nique talks about it, everything is up for discussion. The no-holds-barred two-time host of the BET AWARDS and Sundance Festival Award-winning dramatic actor brings her signature style and fun to this new late night talk show. Without a doubt, Mo'Nique will be bringing the magic back to late night. SCHEDULED TO PREMIERE Q4 2009
CHANGING LANES: Jonathan Smith and Michael Cherry are fresh faces chasing their racing dreams in NASCAR. BET embarks on its own great race to discover tomorrow's stars in America's most-watched form of motorsports with a blazing hot one-hour series chronicling the search for the sport's next generation of drivers. SCHEDULED TO PREMIERE Q2 2010
FIRST IN: FIRST IN is a reality docu-drama that drops viewers into the world of a city's real life heroes: the men and women of emergency response teams (firefighters and paramedics) who are the first on the scene of accidents and crimes. The minute the station alarm goes off the camera goes on. Viewers are taken inside emergency vehicles, on the chase to save lives and eventually into Compton's local hospital. Whether it's a fight with fire or with a crack abuser, this team is FIRST IN. Their stories will rivet audiences like no other original series. SCHEDULED TO PREMIERE Q4 2009
THE HOLLYWOOD TREATMENT:Mary J. Blige stars in the pilot of this makeover reality show with a big heart. Each week, a celebrity helps to give an individual a life transformation in partnership with a foundation chosen by the celebrity or individual. SCHEDULED TO PREMIERE Q1 2010
MONICA: STILL STANDING: Follow GRAMMY® Award-winning singer Monica as she balances raising a young family and making a comeback in the music world. SCHEDULED TO PREMIERE Q4 2009
PAY IT OFF: The first game show to give contestants the chance to get out of the red comes to BET. PAY IT OFF explores the personal debt dilemmas of everyday people, then challenges them to pay off their bills one at a time. SCHEDULED TO PREMIERE Q4 2009
A TIME TO LAUGH: Hosted by Stellar Award-winning Gospel dynamo Vickie Winans, this new series packs a hilarious punch with the best in gospel stand-up with dynamic dancers, musical artists, and fast-paced Bible story improv from a fresh urban contemporary perspective. SCHEDULED TO PREMIERE Q1 2010
The BET News department is also revving up more docu specials for next season, including:
THE BOTTOM LINE: How do the decisions made in the Oval Office, the Supreme Court and the halls of Congress affect our daily lives? How do the edicts and policies from our churches, cultural institutions and advocacy organizations impact our communities and families? Each week BET News will rise above the clatter of cable chatter and get to THE BOTTOM LINE on Black America's most pressing issues. Each week a diverse panel of our most prolific writers, thinkers, leaders and cultural icons will provide vital insight and analysis. SCHEDULED TO PREMIERE Q1 2010
HEART OF THE CITY: From gang wars to police brutality to the sexually transmitted disease epidemic facing young women, BET News goes inside America's cities to examine the issues devastating our communities and their impact on residents. HEART OF THE CITY will tell the stories of those most directly affected, and go beyond simply reporting on the challenges to highlighting the efforts of those working tirelessly to create change with real solutions. SCHEDULED TO PREMIERE Q3 2009
IN DEPTH: Our lives are often misunderstood, and consequently, are in turn critically misinterpreted by mainstream media. We seldom get the chance to tell our own stories. Enter IN DEPTH, an on-going series of quarterly specials examining our lives and the trends and influences that define who we are as a community. From the crippling AIDS epidemic to the current realities facing Black women to the ever-changing structure of the Black family, IN DEPTH will tell the stories and uncover the facts, revealing our truths. IN DEPTH gives voice to the lives and experiences of Black people in America from the unique, award-winning perspective of BET News. SCHEDULED TO PREMIERE Q4 2009