April 4, 2013—BET Networks announced today it has licensed over 100 episodes each of two hit sitcoms, THE FIRST FAMILY and MR. BOX OFFICE, from Entertainment Studios to air on CENTRIC starting April, 2013. Both first-run original series feature recognized and award-winning actors such as Bill Bellamy, Gary Busey, Gladys Knight, Christopher B. Duncan, Kellita Smith, Jackée, Marla Gibbs, John Witherspoon, Jon Lovitz, Rick Fox, Tim Meadows, Essence Atkins and Vivica A. Fox, and are scheduled to premiere in primetime on Centric weeknights beginning Friday April 19, 2013.
“We’re thrilled to partner with Entertainment Studios and add these two incredible series to our growing comedy programming slate on CENTRIC,” said Paxton K. Baker, EVP and General Manager of CENTRIC. “THE FIRST FAMILY and MR. BOX OFFICE star African American talent that resonate with our audience.”
“This is an historic deal,” said Byron Allen, Founder, Chairman, and Chief Executive Officer of Entertainment Studios. “We have bypassed the broadcast networks to produce two original sitcoms with hundreds of episodes that feature prominent TV and film stars, and we couldn’t be happier to have BET Networks as our cable premiere partner.”
THE FIRST FAMILY–In a humorous twist of art imitating life at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Centric premieres a star-studded scripted comedy about a presidential African American family residing in the White House. Christopher B. Duncan is President William Johnson and Kellita Smith stars as his wife, First Lady Katherine Johnson. Together, they run the free world and raise four children. Co-stars Gladys Knight, Jackeé, John Witherspoon, and Marla Gibbs round out their dynamic extended family.
MR. BOX OFFICE–One of Hollywood’s most bankable stars got himself into trouble with the law, and is ordered to give back by fulfilling an unlikely sentence: community service as a high school English teacher in South Central Los Angeles. Bill Bellamy leads an all-star cast in this scripted comedy that looks at the human side of stardom. Also stars Jon Lovitz, Vivica A. Fox, Gary Busey, Essence Atkins, Tim Meadows, and Rick Fox.
The deal was negotiated by Barbara Zaneri, Executive Vice President, Program Strategy, Scheduling and Acquisitions, BET Networks and Byron Allen, Founder, Chairman, and Chief Executive Officer, of Entertainment Studios.