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Mara Brock & Salim Akil ("The Game," "Jumping The Broom") Sign Mega Multi-Year Deal With BET

by Tambay A. Obenson
May 12, 2011 2:40 AM
13 Comments
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In a move that really shouldn't be much of a surprise, BET/Viacom has signed what is being called a mega multi-year production deal with husband/wife team, Mara Brock Akil and Salim Akil, the brains behind the network's hit series, The Game and, out in theaters currently, Jumping The Broom.

The deal includes a 3-year agreement, with commitments to new, original series, which means we should expect more new scripted programming from BET - a step in the right direction IMHO.

Along with The Game, the network also has Let's Stay Together, which will return for a second season next year; and, this fall, the family comedy Reed Between the Lines, starring Malcolm-Jamal Warner and Tracee Ellis Ross, will make its debut; additionally, there are also a number of newly-acquired web series that may eventually make their way into the networks regular TV programming.

"This is a very important deal for us. It reflects our belief in (the Akils) as storytellers and creators and our commitment to the world of scripted TV in general... Mara and Salim are going to play a very important role in our strategic planning for this channel going forward," said Loretha Jones, head of original programming for BET Networks.

Stay tuned...

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13 Comments

  • JasonJee | May 13, 2011 2:52 AMReply

    Good for them and BET.

  • Kalvin Jefferson | May 12, 2011 11:30 AMReply

    I am not going to wait with bated breath about this or any other production deal that Viacom (owner of BET) puts together for the star negroes of the moment.

  • Jug | May 12, 2011 9:04 AMReply

    @Carey-Damn, Brotha...you seem upset...LMBAO

    Your take is extreme, but I can get with it A BIT. Yes, right now BET is some shit. We all know this. And anyone who has seen THE GAME has witnessed it's transformation from horrible sitcom to well done sitcom and, since BET, into "what the hell" over the top comedy/melodramatic mess.

    BUT, with ALLLLL A DAT, the overall deal still says that BET, as a company, is breaking out of it's bullshit infantile cocoon and trying to treat some artists right. Like I said, I don't like THE GAME & didn't like JUMPING THE BROOM, but I did like GIRLFRIENDS, so I can choose to have hope for the Brock projects coming along. Will my dreams get dashed on the rocks of BET development pandering? Probably. LOL

    But a guy can dream can't he...

  • CareyCarey | May 12, 2011 8:45 AMReply

    Oh how I love it when black folks show so much reserve and understanding. You know, while reading the comments I was reminded of the difficulties a preacher had while ulogises a bum, who the whole neighborhood and the deceased’s mother knew was a scumbag-ish louse. The preacher picked and poked and paused, searching for just the right words. Since the preacher was a good man, lying and justifying wrong was off the table. You know, it’s very difficult to make wrong - right. So there he was, standing between a rock and a hard place, sweat pouring over his brow, then, out of nowhere, he knew exactly what to do, just tell the truth. He said, “Mrs. Maggie’s son just got the best deal of his life, he’s moving in the right direction”

    So, as I was reading all the comments, I saw all the Rev. Johnsons trying their best to stay on the good foot, but a little truth cracked the door...

    “Definitely a step in the right direction”

    “Dramas?!? REEEALL worried about that stuff for BET

    “a multi-year deal with BET doesn’t mean much in terms of budget.

    “they will be expected to produce more of the same “rimshot” comedies that we’re all tired of seeing”

    “i don’t know about BET. The Game was actually decent as its former self but once it got to BET it was obvious that influenced changed the show for the worst”

    “maybe then it won’t suck so much”

    “Honestly, this doesn’t mean anything if it’s going to be more of the same Black shows”

    “but… “The Game” got wack after its BET resurrection—just sayin’”

    So now I’m thinking, ummmm, what if Rev. Right was up in here? Would he push the door all the way open and say what others only hinted at? I think he would. What would he have to lose by telling the world what’s really going on? Besides, he has never been one to run from controversy. So ladies & gentlemen, I present Rev Carey Wright and his take on BET and their dressed up new coons, Mara and Salim...

    What’s really going on?! WTH is a mega multi-year production deal? What’s inside that ambiguous statement? What, does that speak to Mara & Slim’s budget or money in their pocket? Does the fine lines call for bringing in new writers and new concepts?

    Besides, what if Jack The Ripper invites the heat from Jumping Da Damn Broom (yeah, jump the broom) into his house, what do you have? Lets see, Mara and Salim are also bringing the Game with them. But wait, what’s in the game and whose game is it? I’ve heard it too is a bag of mess. And now, Mara and Salim are employed by BET, better known as EBT, aka, electronic balance transfer, aka, food stamps. Damn, I hear nothing more than two more fancy negroes being employed by Mr Charlie, to pass out food stamps to all the unemployed lazy people, who like nothing better than sitting on their dumb ass and watching other foolish negroes make asses of themselves.

    Hip Hip Hooray, we’re moving in the right direction. Two negroes got a job.

    Yes, there are exceptions. However, the inequality suffered by many, are no way justified by the rise of a few ~ James Baldwin


    Rev Carey Wright drops the mic.

  • Cynthia | May 12, 2011 6:35 AMReply

    Definitely a step in the right direction. Great news! I was a big fan of "Girlfriends" so I have faith.

  • tepnlex | May 12, 2011 4:48 AMReply

    I'm sure this duo is aware of being pigeonholed, and will do what is necessary to prevent that. I hope they cast a wide net for writers and concepts, and avoid the melodramatic tendencies their previous efforts lean on. I'm rooting for them, and for the network to produce and sustain quality work.

  • Jug | May 12, 2011 4:30 AMReply

    Now the thing I have real fear about, is BET's handling of dramas when it rolls around. Comedies, not a problem, but Dramas?!? REEEALL worried about that stuff for BET LOL

  • Jug | May 12, 2011 4:28 AMReply

    HELLO?!?! Can we look at big picture, please? BET or no, aside from Shonda, when was the last time you heard about a BLACK showrunner who got a big overall deal at a network?

    Go ahead, I'll wait........

    ......*crickets*....*crickets*.......*crickets*

    BET may be whack in terms of the majority of projects they are putting out there, but this is an EXTREME step in the right direction.-finally acting like a fucking network and not a cable access channel. Capitalize on the heat from JUMPING THE BROOM..."From the Duo that Brought You..."

    For Mara & Salim, I'm not a fan of THE GAME OR JUMPING THE BROOM but I can see this as a good thing. Not all of their projects will be whack, that would just be really dumb business. Remember, this is the crew that made GIRLFRIENDS, which was a damn good show by ANY standard-and UPN/CW was not giving them this kind of love.

    And isn't this the thing we say we want? Black folks getting control & finances to create quality black projects? Every other studio/network is giving away overall deals to folks who make shite like they're giving away napkins at McDonald's, because they may happened to work on a show the network liked-cliques abound!

    THE GAME may not be "good" but it is a means to an end, and let's hope this end is a beginning...damn I'm feeling poetic LOL

  • Donnie Leapheart | May 12, 2011 4:14 AMReply

    While this is good news, a multi-year deal with BET doesn't mean much in terms of budget. Also, as one poster mentioned above, they will be expected to produce more of the same "rimshot" comedies that we're all tired of seeing.

  • L | May 12, 2011 3:51 AMReply

    Yeah I think these 2 are talented but i don't know about BET. The Game was actually decent as its former self but once it got to BET it was obvious that influenced changed the show for the worst.

  • SayNay | May 12, 2011 3:36 AMReply

    I haven't seen The Game or Let's Stay Together since beginning of the season. Reed Between the Lines should be interesting if only for Malcolm Jamal Warner and Tracee Ellis Ross.

    I'm glad BET is moving into some original programming, maybe then it won't suck so much. But as someone said in another post why must we always do comedy. Hopefully as part of this deal, Mara and Salim will consider some other genres.

  • Nichole | May 12, 2011 3:32 AMReply

    Honestly, this doesn't mean anything if it's going to be more of the same Black shows. Where's the diversity in Black television?

  • Adam Scott Thompson | May 12, 2011 3:14 AMReply

    I like what these two do (way better than King Coon), but... "The Game" got wack after its BET resurrection -- just sayin'.

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