Five months after renewing Mara Brock Akil’s The Game for an eighth season, BET this evening announced that its flagship comedy will be coming to an end. But before it bows out, The Game will get one more season, 9, which will be its last. Filming is underway on both Seasons 8 and 9, which will begin airing in early 2015. The Game was picked up by BET in 2009 when the comedy was cancelled by the CW after three seasons. “All good things must come to an end and after celebrating four successful seasons of The Game on BET, the Network has announced production is underway on the show’s final two seasons,” BET said in a statement on its Web site. “In January 2011 the cult following of The Game proved that the show was a fan favorite with 7.7 million viewers for its premiere debut on BET. With seasons eight and nine, we’re excited to end on a high note by giving Sabers fans a chance to bid farewell to their favorite players on and off the field.”
The Game, a pioneer in harnessing the power of social media to energize TV fans, made cable history with the record-breaking audience of 7.7 million who tuned in to the Season 4 premiere that marked The Game’s debut on BET.
In an interview with BET.com, Akil, who has a second hit on BET with drama Being Mary Jane, reflected on ending The Game and the show’s legacy. “Shows do end; that is a part the business,”she said. “I’m very happy BET gave The Game five additional seasons to explore these characters and this world. We made history when we got to the network and it’s nice to be able to celebrate the great achievements of the show.”
“I’m really proud of the look of our show, that we took a multi-cam budget and turned it into a single camera show. Its look, its tone, its approach, the characters’ development — that, yes, we were a half-hour comedy but we used our moments to deepen the characters. We also offered drama in a half-hour space. And that was my own personal desire, but it was also reflective of what the audience has been wanting, which is more well-rounded, deeper, richer, layered characters, and they got that in The Game.”
“The bigger legacy was the conversation that the audience had with the network. There was a partnership that was created and the use of social media — we were part of the history of television and how it interacts with social media and how it can be an asset to a show and the support of a show. I think The Game is locked in history about that movement.”