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[04/04/05 - 12:00 AM]
BET Announces Plans for New Slate of Original Shows

[via press release from BET]

BET Announces Plans for New Slate of Original Shows

Unscripted Reality Drama BLOWIN' UP!: FATTY KOO is First Original Series to Debut from BET's Newly-Launched Program Development Unit

SAN FRANCISCO, April 4 -- BET's new program development group has wasted little time in rolling out plans for the very products for which it was created less than two months ago. At the NCTA National Cable Show in San Francisco's Moscone Center, BET today unveiled a new slate of original programs, some ready for launch while others are in development. Led by the new reality franchise BLOWIN' UP!: FATTY KOO which is slated for an April 21 release, the network's development plans also include series programming from various genres including gaming, reality, talk, lifestyle, pop culture, docu- soap, faux verite and comedy.

Not yet eight weeks old, BET's development team has already amassed an impressive menu of shows currently at various stages of development, from concept and casting to pilot production and premiere -- activities BET Executive Vice President for Entertainment and Music Programming Stephen Hill says will only accelerate. "We created this unit to be both an idea factory and programming assembly line," said Hill. "In the past we've developed original programming from across a variety of teams within BET. Now we've centralized those functions into a dedicated department with the green light to not just dream things up, but also find diverse means internally and externally to bring actual shows to our lineup."

Heading up BET's new idea factory is Robyn Lattaker-Johnson, who joined BET in February as Vice President of Programming Development, a new position geared to produce new programming ideas, show pilots and other on-screen offerings. Prior to her arrival at BET, Lattaker-Johnson was the Director of Development for Alternative Programming and Production at Sci Fi Channel. In that role, she was directly responsible for developing original reality-based series and other forms of non-fiction/unscripted programming, including Scare Tactics, Mad Mad House, and Ghost Hunters.

"I'm looking to create signature shows with a strong voice and cultural point-of-view that will resonate with our audience... shows that build the brand in the way that 'Queer Eye for the Straight Guy' put Bravo on the map in a new way," said Lattaker-Johnson. "But I'm not looking to simply take existing formats and slot brown faces into them. Each format has to contain signature elements or rituals that our demographic can relate to, which have street credibility and authenticity."

This spring, BET viewers will vicariously experience the journey of five diverse and multi-talented individuals determined to make their mark with the premiere of the network's newest series, BLOWIN' UP!: FATTY KOO. For 13 episodes in this half-hour unscripted drama, BET's cameras follow the lives of five kids from Columbus, Ohio who form the musical collective Fatty Koo and capture their struggle to break into the record biz. BLOWIN' UP!: FATTY KOO premieres on BET on Thursday, April 21 at 9:30 p.m. ET/PT.

Other shows in various stages of development or production include:

* REMIXED -- This is the makeover show that believes that the day after BET makes you Cinderella, you shouldn't turn back into a pumpkin. The BET team goes around the country making over those lucky enough to have a chance at reinventing themselves, BET style! But the physical makeover is one thing. REMIXED will pair its participants with a life coach, a person that will help the "remixee" change the direction in life he/she most wants changed. How successful will they be? Find out each week in this half-hour program that uses stylists, makeup artists, beauticians and a special life coach to form the maximum makeover crew.

* ROAD SHOW -- Anything you can do I can do better! That's been the battle cry for boys and girls on the courts, fields and playgrounds of America for ages. In this hour-long daily video wrap-around show, BET will hit the road to cities and college campuses across the country for a high-energy battle of the sexes between 20 boys and girls as they each try to outdo one another for bragging rights and prizes! Physical feats of skill and tests of knowledge about the opposite sex make this battle for supremacy a can't-miss hit.

* BET's KICKBACK -- This daily half-hour relationship/dating show features four single girlfriends with four single guys in a fully tech'd-out fantasy house. The drama will unfold as players are eliminated until only two remain, looking to see if they've made a love connection.

* BET LATE NIGHT -- This half-hour comedic late-night talk show airs weeknights and will explore the hottest topics of the day via one-on-one interviews, sketches, and musical performances.

The network's development team is also working on several other concepts which include a weekly competition show that puts eight young folks who want to work in the music biz into an elimination battle, testing their ability to 'get their hustle on' in the high stakes hip-hop business environment. The prize? Becoming protege to a major mogul running one of today's most lucrative and diverse hip-hop business empires. They'll have to be on their game every week, because there is only one winner. In a weekly half-hour celebrity gaming show which is being piloted, two teams of today's best of hip hop and R&B A-Listers, athletes, actors or comedians will compete across the cards and/or dominos tables vying for a pot that includes high-valued jewelry from each players' personal "bling" collection. The value of the winning loot will be donated to the champion's charity of choice. Complete with deejay, trash- talkin' and celebrity guests, BET is betting this will become another signature viewer favorite.

ABOUT BET

BET, a subsidiary of Viacom, Inc. (NYSE: VIA, 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 80 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.

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





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