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April 17, 2018 at 5:03 PM EDT

BET Networks Powers Black Influence with a Slate of New Original Scripted Series, Culture-Defining Specials and All-Star Talent

BET Networks Reigns as the #1 Cable Network for African American Viewers 18-49 for 17 Consecutive Years

In Upcoming Fiscal Year (2018-2019) BET Networks Will Feature 21% More Original Programming Than Previous Year

With over 12 Billion Annual Social Impressions, BET Networks is the #1 Most Socially Buzzed-About Cable Net of CY2017 Across Facebook & Twitter

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- BET Networks announced today its upcoming 2018-2019 fiscal year programming slate. Now, more than ever, black culture is powering every area of mainstream from politics and social media to music and fashion. As the #1 Cable Network for African American viewers 18-49 for 17 consecutive years, BET is omnipresent in its influence of all aspects of pop culture with new original series and specials, featuring some of Hollywood's biggest stars and influencers, both in front and behind the camera. From Dwayne Johnson, T.I., Will Packer, En Vogue, SWV, Salt, Pepa, Spinderella, Swizz Beatz, Tracey Edmonds and more, BET is raising the bar on premium programming content and will deliver 21% more original programming than last year. From engaging new provocative series, to culture-defining mega-specials, BET continues to entertain, empower and engage its audiences.

"BET has a special connection with the African American audience," said Scott Mills, President of BET Networks. "It is this connection that powers our mission to entertain, engage and empower our audience with premium original content, strategic partnerships with the biggest brands, and unparalleled access to the most sought-after talent."

"Creating powerful, engaging and provocative content has been BET Networks' legacy for decades," said Connie Orlando, Head of Programming, BET Networks. "And, with the increase in our original programming slate for 2019, we're committed more than ever to telling the most compelling and authentic stories about the Black experience."

Since July 2017, BET Networks has posted three consecutive quarters of linear ratings growth across multiple demos including the key demo P18-49. From television screens to mobile screens, BET continues to expand on all platforms. No one tweets, shares, posts or snaps like the BET audience - the most socially engaged in its competitive set. With 12 billion annual social impressions in 2017, BET has maintained a strong-hold in the digital space leading all major cable networks, ranking #2 out of nearly 230 digital entertainment TV properties for reaching African Americans. Solidifying insights from last year's comprehensive Black Twitter study and having the ability to amplify a message out to the broader African American universe, BET continues to hold a special place of influence with fans.

SCRIPTED SERIES

AMERICAN SOUL - Inspired by the personal trials and professional successes of a young, ambitious and troubled impresario Don Cornelius. The drama series is an unflinching look at the entrepreneur, his Soul Train dancers, crew and musicians in an unforgiving Hollywood in the 1970's - how they work, play, rise and fall against the backdrop of Soul Train — "the hippest trip in America" and one of the most predominant television shows for African-American culture. Produced by Jesse Collins Entertainment, AMERICAN SOUL is executive produced by Jesse Collins, Jonathan Prince, Devon Greggory and Tony Cornelius with Co-Executive Producer Andy Horne. Greggory and Prince, who created the series will also pen the pilot.
FORMAT: One-hour drama
NUMBER OF EPISODES: 10

THE ARCHER CONNECTION [WORKING TITLE] - The ten-episode half-hour series follows the life of tech genius Archer Grant, a young, black, iconoclastic mastermind who has developed Archer App - a software that measures the sexual chemistry between its user and anyone in the room. In launching the app and managing its rapid growth, Archer clumsily navigates between worlds - hipster Brooklyn, bloodthirsty Wall Street, underground hip-hop, innovative Silicon Valley - while trying to avoid the treacherous grip of capitalism and his own precarious sex addiction. THE ARCHER CONNECTION is co-executive produced and written by Chad Sanders.
FORMAT: Half-hour dramedy
NUMBER OF EPISODES: 10

BOOMERANG - BET and Paramount Television are partnering to reboot the 1992 American romantic comedy film BOOMERANG, in which a successful executive finds that his lifestyle choices have turned back on him when his new boss turns out to be a bigger deviant than he is. This updated version explores contemporary workplace dynamics, including the changing role of gender, office politics, relationships, and the conflicts between Generation X and Millennials.
FORMAT: Half-hour comedy
NUMBER OF EPISODES: 10

GAMES DIVAS PLAY - Based on the popular book by Angela Burt-Murray, this sultry new thriller takes viewers inside the high-stakes world of professional sports where everyone plays to win. With an ensemble cast of dynamic characters including an ambitious reporter, a millionaire basketball player, a desperate housewife, a scandalous groupie, and a murderous stalker, the series follows three women Nia, Vanessa and Laila and the men in their lives. In a ruthless battle for success, these women's passions and motivations are seldom altruistic, but their life choices and drive will determine what it really takes to stay on top. GAMES DIVAS PLAY is executive produced by Tracey Edmonds of Edmonds Entertainment, Angela Burt-Murray and Vanessa Middleton, who also serves as showrunner for the series.
FORMAT: One-hour drama
NUMBER OF EPISODES: 10

PEACHTREE PLACE - Follows five 30-something year olds living in Atlanta as they try to build professional and personal lives they can be proud of, but find that being a real adult is easier said than done. Unresolved feelings from college are uncovered and secrets revealed, forcing these friends to finally deal with uncomfortable truths about love, sex and reluctantly, growing up. PEACHTREE PLACE is executive produced by Will Packer and co-executive produced by Sheila Duckworth and Felischa Marye, who also serves as a writer on the series.
FORMAT: Half-hour comedy
NUMBER OF EPISODES: 10

UNSCRIPTED SERIES

FINDING JUSTICE - From executive producers Dwayne Johnson, Dany Garcia and David Leepson, this compelling docuseries tells the powerful stories of heroes, leaders, advocates and change agents in African American communities across America as they uncover injustices and fight to bring healing and change. With the grit and edge of investigative journalism and the profound heart of a powerful documentary, each episode delivers a riveting look at the faces of change in Black America. FINDING JUSTICE is produced by Seven Bucks Productions and Leepson Bounds Entertainment.
FORMAT: Crime, Docuseries
NUMBER OF EPISODES: 6

DREAM TEAM - In the summer of 1992, a basketball team comprised of 11 future Hall of Famers showed up at the Olympics in Spain and changed the face of sports and global culture forever. DREAM TEAM is an intimate journey from the spark of an idea to the podium in Barcelona, examining an incomparable legacy that still resonates 25 years later. Based on acclaimed sports journalist Jack McCallum's New York Times bestselling book that follows the 1992 U.S. Olympic Men's Basketball team, the five-episode docuseries from BET and Paramount Television, will explore how a group of extraordinary and complex individuals became a team and how that team transcended sports. DREAM TEAM is directed and executive produced by Emmett and Brendan Malloy of Malloy Brothers Productions. Underground's Trevor Engelson and Five All in The Fifth's Douglas Banker also executive produce. McCallum will serve as a consultant for the series. The docuseries is created with the cooperation and support of USA Basketball and the NBA.
FORMAT: Limited series
NUMBER OF EPISODES: 5

THE NEXT BIG THING [WORKING TITLE] - This hybrid docu-music competition series highlights super-producer Swizz Beats, Tina Davis, music veteran A&R Exec (Def Jam, Empire), former manager of Chris Brown as we follow a league of powerhouse music icons, put up-and-coming artists through the ultimate development boot camp. After being coached and challenged on performance preparation, these artists must give the best performance of their career to land a deal with one of six major record labels. Produced by Releve Entertainment, the series is executive produced by Swizz Beats, Tina Davis and Holly Carter.
FORMAT: Music Competition
NUMBER OF EPISODES: 10

LADIES NIGHT - This new docuseries follows the personal and professional drama of the iconic 90's girl groups En Vogue, Salt, Pepa, Spinderella and SWV as they embark on a national tour. With a run of shows across the US, these iconic artists must create, choreograph, and execute a night featuring all of their famous hits. With major money on the line, the OGs will need to put their pride to the side in order to launch something truly memorable. Produced by Entertainment One's Tara Long, Mark Herwick, Madison Merritt serve as executive producers.
FORMAT: Docuseries
NUMBER OF EPISODES: 10

THE GRAND HUSTLE - From the streets to the boardroom, T.I. wrote the book on hustling and now he's looking for the nation's next big hustler to see who will come out on top. Set in the streets of Atlanta, these contestants use the city to prove they have what it takes to out-hustle the rest! In the end, T.I. will choose one person to be named King or Queen of the Hustle - landing a six-figure job working at one of T.I.'s companies. Produced by 51 Minds EntertainmentTHE GRAND HUSTLE is executive produced by Christian Sarabia, Clifford "T.I." Harris, Brian Sher, Vinnie Kaufman and Johnny Petillo. Petillo also serves as showrunner for the series.
FORMAT: Competition, Docuseries
NUMBER OF EPISODES: 12

THE HUSTLE: BROOKLYN- This new coming-of-age docuseries set in Brooklyn, follows a cast of young and sexy millennials with a balance of economic backgrounds, focusing on transitional moments of their lives. Produced by Entertainment One & Creature films, Tara Long of eOne and Mark Ford and Kevin Lopez serve as executive producers.
FORMAT: Docuseries
NUMBER OF EPISODES: 10

MEGA-SPECIALS AND TENTPOLE EVENTS

BET AWARDS - Moving into its nineteenth year, the BET AWARDS franchise is the #1 program in cable television history among African American viewers for 16 consecutive years. This magnetic night of musical collaborations and jaw-dropping moments consistently delivers high ratings, millions of social media impressions and buzz before, during and after the star-studded live telecast. The best in music has graced the stage including Beyoncé and Kendrick Lamar, Bruno Mars, Chris Brown, DJ Khaled, Chance the Rapper, Migos and more. In 2017, the BET AWARDS honored New Edition with the Lifetime Achievement Award and Chance the Rapper with the Humanitarian Award.

BET EXPERIENCE - Returning for its seventh year, BET Experience at L.A. LIVE presented by Coca-Cola® showcases the best in music, comedy, and entertainment. The immersive experience continues to grow each year, drawing hundreds of thousands of visitors to the downtown Los Angeles area. The BET Experience at L.A. LIVE presented by Coca-Cola® includes a series of interactive events such as a free Fan Fest, live music, Celebrity Basketball Game presented by Sprite, Celebrity Dodgeball Game and Genius Talks with A-list talent; as well as a partnership between BET Networks and AEG to bring a star-studded electrifying concert series to the L.A. Live complex.

BET HIP HOP AWARDS - The BET HIP HOP AWARDS returns to highlight the best of the year in hip-hop music, with bold performances and breakthrough freestyle cyphers. This seminal awards show singularly celebrates hip-hop and sets social media on fire with the click of a hashtag, placing it among the most social award shows all year.

BLACK GIRLS ROCK! ™ - Featuring emerging and legendary talent, touching tributes to present-day role models and soulful, surprising musical performances, BLACK GIRLS ROCK! ™ celebrates the brilliance and beauty of Black women. This Award-winning special is both timely and timeless, saluting dynamic leaders in entertainment, business, philanthropy, and beyond. Past award winners include film legend Cicely Tyson, music and fashion icon Rihanna, director Ava DuVernay, educator Nadia Lopez, and veteran actor Taraji P. Henson. Created by executive producer Beverly Bond, BLACK GIRLS ROCK! ™ highlights the wide spectrum of talent and contributions of women of color who are shaping our world.

SOUL TRAIN AWARDS - The iconic brand that defined a generation returns with an awards show that delivers world class talent and honors the best in R&B and soul. Recent performers include Jill Scott, Tamar Braxton, Luke James and more. In 2017, the SOUL TRAIN AWARDS honored Toni Braxton with the Legend Award and SWV with the Lady of Soul Award. The SOUL TRAIN AWARDS is guaranteed to deliver Love, Peace, and SOUL!

About BET Networks

BET Networks, a subsidiary of Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ:VIA)(NASDAQ:VIA.B), is the nation's leading provider of quality entertainment, music, news and public affairs television programming for the African-American audience. The primary BET channel is in nearly 85 million households and can be seen in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, the United Kingdom, sub-Saharan Africa, France and South Korea. BET is the dominant African-American consumer brand with a diverse group of business extensions including BET.com, a leading Internet destination for Black entertainment, music, culture, and news; BET HER (formerly CENTRIC), a 24-hour entertainment network targeting the African-American woman; BET Music Networks - BET Jams, BET Soul and BET Gospel; BET Home Entertainment; BET Live, BET's growing festival business; BET Mobile, which provides ringtones, games and video content for wireless devices; and BET International, which operates BET Networks around the globe.

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Source: BET Networks

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