[01/25/05 - 12:00 AM]
BET Goes Back to Class with the Return of College Hill, Television's First-Ever Black Dramatic Reality Series

[via press release from BET]

BET Goes Back to Class With the Return of College Hill, Television's First-Ever Black Dramatic Reality Series

Sophomore Season of Series Depicting Black College Life with Eight Co-eds at Oklahoma's Langston University Premieres January 27

WASHINGTON, Jan. 25 -- BET goes back to class with a sophomore season of CoLLEGE HILL, launching its 13-week run on the network in the "Wild, Wild West" of the Oklahoma plains at Langston University. COLLEGE HILL bows with a special one-hour series premiere on Thursday, January 27 at 9 p.m. ET/PT. It's a new cast of eight, but with the same saucy, volatile mix of eclectic personalities and on-and off-campus hi jinx that marked its break-out debut last season. COLLEGE HILL's January 2004 debut earned the distinction as BET's highest-rated series premiere in the network's 25-year history with a 1.4 audience rating (1.4 million viewers). On the new 2005 season of COLLEGE HILL, the network's cameras are there 24/7 to catch all of the action from classroom to chaos.

This time around, BET and Edmonds Entertainment flipped the script with an off-campus housing arrangement -- the cast mates share a luxurious Western-themed ranch in the middle of nowhere, and whenever they get together sparks fly. Last year's popularity inspired producers to take a new approach that would keep the show fresh, and the new rural, off-campus setting will surely lend this season its own unique flavor. From "baby mama drama" and streaking naked through the house, to steamy Jacuzzi scenes and late-night antics that occur behind closed doors, COLLEGE HILL is a no-holds barred, uncensored look at the experiences, triumphs and growing pains of eight college co-eds.

"We are very proud of having the only Black reality show on TV. This year, we show all aspects of the students' lives: the classroom struggles and triumphs as well as party times," said Stephen Hill, BET Senior Vice President of Music Programming and Talent. "The first night they were together was enough for three or four episodes. The personalities in this show are hilarious, touching, motivating ... and just down right ornery. Housing the students off campus gave us a lot of flexibility, and Allowed the students a lot of leeway in their, um, activities."

Edmonds Entertainment Group, famed producers of the multiple award-winning drama television series SOUL FOOD, partnered again with BET to produce the second season of the COLLEGE HILL. Tracey Edmonds, President and CEO of Edmonds Entertainment and executive producer for COLLEGE HILL, says that viewers can look forward to an intriguing new season.

"We are thrilled to return with our second season of COLLEGE HILL and I hope viewers will find this installment to be even more provocative and compelling than our debut season," says Edmonds. "We assembled an amazingly eclectic cast who truly delivered raw, uncensored behavior which made nearly every chapter that unfolded intriguing and often shocking. We also believe that there is something for everyone this season on COLLEGE HILL with alums reminiscing about those carefree, formative years; current students relating to the struggles and triumphs; and prospective students eagerly anticipating the independence and fun that comes along with college life."

BET is supporting the show premiere with a substantial multi-media advertising and marketing campaign. The strategy includes heavy rotation of promotional spots on BET; television spots on the UPN network; radio ads in 30 major markets; a poster campaign and ads in the campus newspapers of several historically Black colleges and universities; and ads in bus shelters in seven markets.

The COLLEGE HILL cast members aren't household names -- just yet. But by the time the series concludes, each will have left indelible marks on the show, and maybe on each other. Comprising the cast will be (listed only by first names; hometown in parenthesis):

Brittani (Oklahoma City); Sophomore - Radiology Major Profile: The Flirt. Brittani is full of life, c`eerful, animated, and "bi-polar." Brittani and cast mate Israel recently broke up and she claims she no longer has any feelings for him. As a matter of fact, she would be perfectly fine if he fell off the face of the earth and doesn't mind saying so ... often.

Nafiys (Newark, New Jersey): Junior - Elementary Education Major Profile: The Baller. Nafiys has a "big city" mentality and the adjustment to the quiet pace of Langston, Oklahoma has taken some getting used to. At 6' 8", he is a star player on the Langston basketball team and quite popular with the ladies. The strong and silent type, Nafiys typically sits back and watches his roommates in amusement.

Stacey (Bakersfield, CA): Freshman - Special Education Major Profile: The Rumpshaka. Stacey claims to be an aspiring "video chick," and will proudly shake her stuff upon request. She is considered the party girl of the group and is known to "keep it real" at all costs and on all levels.

Coti (Oklahoma City): Sophomore - Biology Profile: The Cheerleader. Coti is a former champion football player but is now on scholarship as a member of the cheerleading squad. Coti appears to be the peacemaker of the group and is constantly reminding everyone of two key facts: his GPA is higher than everyone else's and that he is a man's man!

Peaches (Lawton, OK); Senior - Biology and Chemistry double Major Profile: The Baby's Mama. Peaches is a single mother and often brings her two-year-old daughter with her to classes. Her mission is to become a doctor and provide a wonderful life for her daughter. She'll do whatever it takes, including utilizing her "assets" to pay her way through school.

Israel (Pawnee, OK); Sophomore - Business Management Profile: The Xretty Boy. Israel is a legacy - both his father and grandfather graduated from Langston. He is labeled a "player" because of his good looks and because he's on the football team. Israel and cast mate Brittani recently broke up and Israel claims to have "moved on." Yet, he and Brittani can never seem to hold a normal conversation without bickering.

Jon (San Jose, CA); Junior - Information Science and Biology double Major Profile: The Freak. Described by some of his cast mates as a know-it-all, buck wild pest who tries too hard to get attention and to score with women, Jon finds fault in anyone who isn't as open-minded as he is -- which is just about everyone.

Tanisha (Omaha, NE); Senior - Music Education Profile: The Good Girl. Tanisha's aspiration in life is to become a minister of the gospel and lead souls to Christ. Her most prized possession is her relation{hip with the Lord and her ideal mate is a real man of God because the word "boyfriend" is not in the Bible.

Edmonds says that the experience of filming a reality show at a historically Black college has given her -- and BET viewers who did not attend an HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) -- an opportunity to vicariously experience Black college life. Edmonds Entertainment and BET sought diversity in tabbing the eight cast members, selecting the final cast from over 1,000 applicants of the school's 3,500 student body members. The show's producers think the mix is just right and are banking on this diversity of personalities to keep the show and its plot intriguing from week to week.

"We have eight really dynamic, colorful, interesting, uninhibited, articulate students in our cast," says Edmonds. "A lot of the students that attend HBCUs are first generation college students and have pulled thro}gh a lot of struggles to get a college degree. I'm really touched with the honesty of the students. They're less guarded ... they're honest about their experiences, about things they're dealing with in their lives. This season will definitely be different - to see African-American students living in a rural environment is an experience and a vision in itself. "


BET, a subsidiary of Viacom, Inc. (NYSE: VIA and VIA.B), is the nation's leading television network providing quality entertainment, music, news and public affairs programming for the African-American audience. The BET Network reaches more than 79 million households according to Nielsen media research, and can be seen in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean. BET is a dominant consumer brand in the urban marketplace with a diverse group of branded businesses: BET.com, the Number 1 Internet portal for African Americans; BET Digital Networks - BET Jazz$ BET Gospel anD BET Hip Hop, attractive alternatives for cutting-edge entertainment tastes; BET Event Productions, specializing in a full range of event production services, including event management, venue selection, talent recruitment, sound, lighting and stage production; and BET Books, the nation's leading publisher of African-American themed romance novels under the Arabesque imprint which also publishes compelling fiction under the Sepia imprint and inspirational fiction and nonfiction under the New Spirit imprint.


Established by R&B superstar Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds and his wife Tracey, Edmonds Entertainment Group has soared like a shooting star to the ranks of Hollywood's elite entertainment companies. Its major subsidiaries include E2 Records, creators of many of the world's most-recognized song titles; Edmonds Entertainment, producers of award-winning film and television projects; Edmonds Management, representing impressive artist clientele in film, television and music ventures; Edmonds Music Publishing, owners of an impressive library of original and acquired musical works; and the TracKen Place Recording Studio, offering state-of-the-art recording and production technology. Some of company's most noteworthy works include the critically- acclaimed Soul Food feature film, winner of five NAACP Image Awards; and the popular Soul Food cable television series, recipient of seven NAACP Image Awards.

SOURCE BET (Black Entertainment Television)
Web Site: http://www.bet.com

  [january 2005]  


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