EXCLUSIVE: I hear that BET has quietly renewed its flagship comedy series The Game for a sixth season (third on the cable network), and the Queen Latifah-produced sophomore Let’s Stay Together for a third. The pickups, which I hear are for 22 episodes, are not official yet and are expected to be announced at BET’s upfront presentation on Thursday. Additionally, I hear that BET is mulling a renewal of freshman comedy Reed Between The Lines. BET, whose current foray into scripted comedy series started an year and a half ago with the pickup of The Game after it had been canceled by the CW, is quickly expanding its portfolio. In addition to the three existing original series, the network is in pre-production on hourlong pilot Being Mary Jane starring Gabrielle Union and sitcom Young Man On Campus starring Jacob Latimore, which originated as an episode of Reed this past season. In growing its scripted business, BET has relied on two key players, Mara Brok Akil, creator/executive producer of both The Game and Being Mary Jane, and Jacque Edmonds, creator/executive producer of Let’s Stay Together and Young Man On Campus and executive producer of Reed. After launching on BET with staggering 7.7 million viewers to rank the top-rated ad-supported sitcom broadcast in cable history, The Game‘s most recent season premiered with impressive 5.3 million viewers. Let’s Stay Together‘s second season opened with 3.5 million viewers vs. 4.4 million for the series premiere, while Reed premiered behind the 2011 Hip-Hop Awards with two back-to-back episodes averaging 3.3 million and 2.9 million viewers, respectively.
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