*BET just presented the cast of “The Game” at the Television Critics Association Press Tour to discuss the show’s return for season four and its transition from the CW – including moving production from LA to Atlanta, working with new sets (after the old ones were destroyed) and the challenge of actors picking up where the characters left off two years earlier.
The first order of business for executive producer Mara Brock Akil was getting the original cast back together and on board for new episodes once it was cancelled by the CW. With everyone under contract and ready to work, writers were finally given the green light to begin working on new scripts.
“Our writers were chomping at the bit,” said co-executive producer Salim Akil. “Everybody came into that room with stories to tell. We really pulled all of our stories from our own lives. We knew these characters.”
When season four begins on Jan. 11 at 10 p.m. (two years later), we’ll see Derwin Davis (Pooch Hall) and Melanie Barnett-David (Tia Mowry Hardict) as the celebrity “it” couple. Derwin is now a star and Melanie has willingly traded in her residency for the demands of being an athlete’s wife.
Tasha Mack (Wendy Raquel Robinson) continues to make her mark in sports management now that he has rebuilt Derwin’s career. Kelly Pitts (Brittany Daniel) – the former Mrs. Jason-Pitts tries to finesse her past as a footballer’s wife to leverage a lucrative future in reality television.
Meanwhile, former San Diego Sabers’ star team captain, Jason Pitts (Coby Bell) has found a new career in sports commentating, the fun-loving Malik Wright (Hosea Chanchez) continues to be the life of the party, but may take things too far this time around.
Moving the show’s sets from LA to the ATL wasn’t even an issue – considering the characters had all moved on to lives that required different surroundings anyway.
“In all honesty, I think the [LA] sets were destroyed,” noted Brock Akil. “But even if they weren’t, I remember Derwin and Melanie, they couldn’t stay in that apartment any longer so they had to move. Malik had been building his house for three seasons now – it started off mother and son living together, then son moved out, he moved to a loft while his house was being built. So yeah, it makes sense the sets would change. We got to shoot a lot on location in Atlanta, too. “
As for the challenge of getting the gang back together, said Hall, “I think I can speak for the cast – nothing meant more to us.”
“All of us, we’re definitely like a big family,” added Mowry. “To be built back up together is an amazing feeling.”
Coby Bell said, “We all knew from the very beginning we had a really special thing. None of us wanted it to end. When we knew there was a chance to have it back, we all tried our best to make it happen.”