The Game season 6 cast
BET Networks

Long-running sitcom THE GAME returns to airwaves tonight, but not to as much fanfare as before – probably due to the exit of show headliner Tia Mowry-Hardrict as Melanie Barnett.

According to the cast picture, it appears that her character’s husband Derwin Davis, played by Pooch Hall is also not back on the show, though it was reported that he would return.  But a quick perusal of his Twitter page shows he’s promoting that he will indeed be on the episode, which from the clip below appears to be accurate.  Why not just be upfront that he's gone? 

But even weirder is that this is the 100th episode, a great milestone for any television show, much less a Black one on contemporary TV – but yet again it seems like barely anybody – including the network really cares as there are barely any videos or clips on BET’s website to promote season six except the one here that I found on YouTube…

…and then the one below (if you can sit through the commercials) that shows the history about how the show got to its 100th episode:

I guess BET wants to put its full energy into The Real Husbands of Hollywood --which is actually a really funny show despite The Game having the highest cable sitcom premiere in television history. 

Thankfully I was able to at least locate the official press release, which clarified a few things. Here’s the meat of it:

“The new season of THE GAME introduces new characters to the show.  Fans will see the "dysfunctional" football family through the fresh eyes of its newest cast members Keira Michelle Whitaker (Lauren London) and Bryce "Blue" Westbrook (Jay Ellis).  They join fellow cast members Wendy Raquel Robinson, Hosea Chanchez, Coby Bell, Brandy Norwood and Barry Floyd. Fans will be taken on a roller coaster ride filled with plenty of twists and turns for the Sabers and Sunbeams beginning with the excitement of the NFL's Premiere Draft Day that ends in the draft trade of longtime Saber Derwin Davis. 

The season five finale ended with Tasha Mack in love, but will this love last forever when former flame Rick Fox returns to her life?  Meanwhile, newlyweds Jason and Chardonnay are very much in love, but will Jason's job get in the way of their honeymoon bliss?  Tempted by his past demons, Malik is Malik 2.0 this year, but will he stay on track and maintain his sobriety? All this and more will be revealed in the new season of THE GAME.”

So yes Pooch is at back at least for the first episode, more likely in reaction to this trade from the team, which if you watched the 2012 season final, its what he wanted in order to be closer to his wife as she chose to go to Johns Hopkins.  Don’t feel sorry for him though as he’s set to appear in the Showtime series Ray Donovan, as well as a guest spot (if the commercials are accurate) in the new ABC show How To Live With Your Parents (For The Rest of Your Life)

The press release also highlighted that Rick Fox, Rockmond Dunbar, and Bumper Robinson will return in the recurring roles. 

Still, the episode is worth watching as Brandy returns now as a regular cast member, and the show introduces new cast members to replace Melanie and Derwin. The include cutie Lauren London, last seen on TV in Single Ladies, as Keira Whitaker who, according to her character bio on BET’s website is a 25-year old actress trying to transition into the acting world as a grown-up after spending her childhood in a “long-running Cosby-esque family sitcom.” Though still a Hollywood socialite, and very comfortable with the spotlight, she is insecure about being taken seriously as an actress and woman. Keira is the love interest for the new character Bryce “Blue” Westbrook, played by Jay Ellis, who last appeared in the basketball segment of Movie 43 with Terence Howard.  Bryce, the new rookie on the San Diego Sabres, is Ivy League educated, tall and handsome, the heartthrob of women – and boasts about all that to anyone he runs into. Seems like Sabres quarterback Malik will have an ego almost as big as his own to contend with in the new season.

The one hour-long premiere runs tonight from 10-11 p.m. ET/PT, followed by the humdrum sitcom LET'S STAY TOGETHER immediately after at 11 p.m. ET/PT.