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BET Ups Faith-Based Programs (Options 3 Reshonda Billingsley Novels + New TD Jakes Talk Show)

Television
by Natasha Greeves
September 18, 2012 11:49 AM
12 Comments
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BET has long had faith based programs on Sunday mornings, but they have announced a slate of new programs to look forward to as part of its primetime line-up.

Charlie Jordan Brookins, BET's SVP of original programming stated, "We are trying to bring (spiritual themes) into the fabric of our programming in general"

It was previously reported that BET had optioned the rights to Reshonda Tate Billingsley's novel Let the Church Say Amen.  The film directed by Regina King and starring Lela Rochon and Steve Harris has begun shooting in atlanta. 

But it's been announced that BET optioned the rights to three additional faith based novels by the author (Billingsley) as well: I Know I've Been ChangedEverybody Say Amen and Say Amen Again.

Queen Latifah's Flavor Unit  will continue to produce the tele-pic franchise.

Everybody Say Amen and Say Amen Again revisits the original church family featured in the film Let the Church Say Amen.  So we can assume we may see members of the original casts in its sequels. 

I Know I've Been Change follows:

Raedella who left her hometown of Sweet Poke, Arkansas for success.  After finding it, she soon finds that her picture-perfect life turns out to be an illusion, Rae's family calls her back to Sweet Poke and to the life she left behind. Can Rae let go of the pain of her childhood and open her heart to the healing that only faith and family can provide?"

In addition to the films, a talk show pilot starring Bishop T.D. Jakes has been shot, along with a docu-reality series following Detroit's Sheard Family.  The Sheard Family has multiple generations of gospel music stars and Bishop J. Drew Sheard, who leads a megachurch in the Motor City; Greater Emmanuel Institutional Church of God and Christ.

In regards to the new programming Brookins stated "they've made an effort to ensure that spiritually themed programming is not overtly preachy, but rather offers a look at religion and faith as part of life."

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12 Comments

  • samirah | September 18, 2012 10:41 PMReply

    what bothers me most about bet's "spiritual" programming, is that it seems willfully ignorant of the fact that black spirituality is way bigger than the black church. what about those of us who aren't christians, and aren't looking to be converted?

  • Darenll | September 18, 2012 10:17 PMReply

    What a mixed bag of blusterous Bullsh*t!!?? I am talking about those who came up in here talking out of the sides of their necks. Listen, who said anything about praying all the time? And I certainly didn't hear anyone pushing "religion". But noooo, some folks couldn't wait to spout nonsense on "What some preachers do". Yeah, who was that preacher who told blacks not to vote? Yeeeeah riiiiiight... nonsense by a few for a few. I read "We (BET) are trying to bring (spiritual themes) into the fabric of our programming in general". Heck, if one is really paying attention, there are station that specialize in faith-based programming. But no no noooooo "it's potentially dangerous to perpetuate the idea that all will be well with one's life if one just goes to church and prays a lot". WHAT!? Where did you read THAT philosophy? I've never heard anyone say, nor have I seen anything in a Tyler Perry movie that would suggest that if a person goes to church and prays a lot, everything will be fine. I'd suggest some folks read a little something on the subjects they're talking about before they open their mouths.

  • Adam Scott Thompson | September 19, 2012 12:18 PM

    You mad? lol

  • Taz | September 18, 2012 10:42 PM

    Thank you for your comment. Reading these comments made me scratch my head and take a pill.

  • ASWILLIAMS | September 18, 2012 1:19 PMReply

    @Marie I totally agree with you on the concept of taking more action instead praying all the time. I mean prayer is good but God would want you to take the initiative to act on those things that you desire to chase after. Now with the programming at BET Networks it`s seemed to have lost the mometum after all these years. With the shows that were now gone like Teen Summit offering a venture to our black youth to talk about certain issues affecting our community. Now with the new T.J. Holmes series ``Don`t Sleep`` can bring back what was once lost with the network after all these years since former founder of the netowork Bob Johnson left and Debra Lee taking over. The network still has to show much progress in the coming years.

  • Adam Scott Thompson | September 18, 2012 12:32 PMReply

    What about multi-faith programming, or is it just one that has the floor? I don't see any faith-based programming on MTV -- and I'm glad. They know what they are and what they are not. I think one station should have faith programming as its primary offering -- Aspire, perhaps? -- and let the others just entertain. I remember when late-night video show "Uncut" was immediately followed by "Success in Life with Robert Tilton" on BET -- wth? If anything, I agree with Peechy that there should be more political programming (and not skewed blue either). And our own news shows, a la "60 Minutes" and "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel."

  • Marie | September 18, 2012 12:32 PMReply

    I have mixed feelings about this. On one hand, I think there's a huge faith-based audience underserved with mediocre entertainment. On the other hand, I feel that black Americans have allowed too much of their thinking to be dictated by their preachers. We now have pastors telling congregants TO NOT VOTE AT ALL because of the anti-black history of Romney's Mormon faith and because of Obama's support for gay marriage! Black pastors didn't talk about AIDS until a prominent black person, Magic Johnson, contracted the virus. I think it's potentially dangerous to perpetuate the idea that all will be well with one's life if one just goes to church and prays a lot (this is the problem I have with the movies by Tyler Perry and Sherwood Pictures). All of the praying in the world will get one nowhere until one takes ACTION and that key ingredient for happiness and success is sorely missing from faith-based entertainment.

  • DJ | September 18, 2012 4:21 PM

    @Marie -- what you note is a problem, not just with the programming, but the "faith." The notion that prosperity "theology" and all its heresy represents substantive, nuanced orthodoxy is a fallacy. The problem then with "faith based" entertainment is this shallow rendering of gospel. Better to invest in programs that wrestle with the holistic and all encompassing nature of faith, belief, relational and societal dynamics, and create narratives that are nuanced and humane, and provide dignified portraits of communities than the one-inch-thick sentimentalism that passes for "spiritual-themed" entertainment.

  • other song | September 18, 2012 12:23 PMReply

    good ol religious shackle

  • Peechy Keen | September 18, 2012 12:02 PMReply

    They can do religious programming until the cows come home, BUT haven't had any significant political programming in almost 10 years?? They have PLENTY of Religious programs what BET/TVOne/ASPIRE and all those other 'black' cable stations need are political programs. Priorities.

  • Critical Acclaim | September 18, 2012 9:56 PM

    They're DNC programming was actually good.

  • Adam Scott Thompson | September 18, 2012 12:26 PM

    Sustained.

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