*“Being Mary Jane” has yet to air its first season (or even a second episode). Still, BET has already ordered a season 2, according to Deadline.com.
The decision to quietly move forward comes after the 90-minute pilot’s impressive 4 million viewers.
Union stars as a successful TV news anchor in the series from Mara Brock Akil and Salim Akil, the duo behind BET’s flagship comedy “The Game,” which is currently in production on Season 7.
Tracee Ellis Ross, Malcolm Jamal Warner of BET’s “Reed Between the Lines”
Meanwhile, Deadline is reporting that BET has given up on its Tracee Ellis Ross comedy “Reed Between the Lines.”
Ross starred as Dr. Carla Reed, a successful psychologist trying to balance her family and career, and Malcolm-Jamal Warner as her husband. It was renewed for a second season in April 2012 but underwent a revamp later that year when Ross departed.
BET is yet to schedule Season 2. The first season of “Reed” spawned a spinoff, “Young Man On Campus” starring Jacob Latimore, which didn’t go past the pilot stage.
*BET’s family comedy “Reed Between the Lines” just got the death sentence when Tracee Ellis Ross broke the news about leaving the show last week.
She didn’t divulge the juicy details until now.
In an interview with Essence.com, the actress revealed being on the show was not necessarily something on her timeline of long-term jobs.
“It was that BET hadn’t decided if they were picking up the show yet or not,” said Ross. “During that time when they didn’t know, I was offered a really amazing pilot for NBC, and BET graciously allowed me to go and do it.”
From there, she said, things kind of got sticky because she was trying to do both.
“Then the timing got complicated and there was a need to move forward. [BET] had to figure out how to deal without me because I wasn’t available. But it’s not because I wanted to leave.”
In fact, she said the show has potential and she “loves” it. If the opportunity presents itself in her life of complication, she could maybe return one day.
Oh, did we tell you the NBC pilot she left “Reed” for was not picked up?
*Tracee Ellis Ross is tired of pretending she likes the show, “Reed Between the Lines.”
Ok, that’s not what she said, but she is leaving the terribly scripted so-called BET comedy. Her departure comes shortly after joining the cast of NBC’s fall pilot, “Bad Girls,” a show about women in federal prison. The show wasn’t picked up, though.
So what’s the plan?
In a statement Ross said that, “Reed Between the Lines” was a show, “I believe in and care about,” and that there was a “chance,” that she might return at some point.
“Reed Between the Lines” will (unfortunately) continue without her.
Ross played Carla, the wife of Alex Reed (Malcolm Jamal Warner). The busy power couple attempts to manage raising three children while maintaining a loving relationship.
The second season will launch next July, but the couple will be separated as Carla moves away to Los Angeles to pursue her dream job.
*Since “The Game” came back, fans can’t get enough of the drama. So BET is heeding to the call of the people and has renewed the modern soap opera for the sixth season.
The details about the new episodes haven’t yet been revealed, but today, Thursday, at the annual “upfront” sessions, BET will officially make the announcement.
Also, another hit show, “Let’s Stay Together” won the hearts of BET watchers and will be returning for its third season.
Additionally, BET is expected to unveil their hour-long pilot starring Gabrielle Union called “Being Mary Jane.” It’s produced by the lady with the hot hand these days, Mara Brock Akli, and was previously called “Single Black Female.” Also look for an announcement about the sitcom “Young Man On Campus” starring teen actor/singer Jacob Latimore.
If you’re wondering about the Tracee Ellis Ross/Malcolm-Jamal Warner sitcom “Reed Between The Lines,” reports say it’s in limbo land. Don’t be surprised if it doesn’t return.
Actress Tracee Ellis Ross with Jameson prior to the 2012 Film Independent Spirit Awards at Santa Monica Pier on Feb. 25, 2012 in Santa Monica, California.
*“Girlfriends” veteran Tracee Ellis Ross has been cast as one of the leads in NBC’s drama pilot “Bad Girls.”
Adapted from the long-running UK series, the project, from John Wells Prods. and WBTV, follows the ins and outs of a group of unlikely women in a federal prison, reports Deadline.com.
Ross will play Rachel, a high-powered business woman who is now serving time for selling phony mortgages. She delayed having kids because of her career, and now she’s desperate to get pregnant — which isn’t easy in prison.
Ross most recently produced and starred in the BET comedy “Reed Between the Lines.”
*In its first season, BET’s “Reed Between the Lines” has proven successful. So as a thank you to the show’s faithful audience, the season will be ending with three back-to-back episodes beginning tonight, Dec. 20.
The first episode focuses on Carla (Tracee Ellis Ross) who is confused when she receives a “Save-the-Date” for her ex-husband’s upcoming wedding. The invite brings up some unresolved issues. So Alex recommends she see a therapist.
The second episode is all about Alex’s (Malcolm Jamal-Warner) parents coming to town for a visit. But it isn’t pleasant. He finds out that his parents have been feuding and mama’s been driving his dad crazy. With a little intervention and love, ain’t nothing Alex can’t fix.
Actor Anthony Anderson (pictured below with Tracee Ellis Ross) will make an appearance on the third finale episode as Dr. Soto, known as “The Love Guru” who has written several self-help books. He teaches women how to get a man with some good cooking, looking sexy and putting him up on a pedestal. But conflict arises when both Carla and the guru are invited to speak at a conference. They both have varying views on how to get a man.
Tracee Ellis-Ross and Malcolm Jamal-Warner star in BET'a 'Reed Between the Lins'
*The LA Times‘ Greg Braxton has written an interesting piece on the disappearance of black family sitcoms from network TV since ‘The Cosby Show” back in the eighties. One of the few exceptions is BET’s “Reed Between the Lines.”
Braxton points out that despite hundreds of new TV channels and the popularity of “The Cosby Show” – and subsequent series featuring minority families such as “My Wife and Kids,” “George Lopez” and “Ugly Betty” – ethnic families are still a rarity on the small screen today.
Family comedies once dominated the networks decades ago, but now these programs have had been a tougher time breaking into prime time as audiences have gravitated toward edgier fare with more mature content. Of course, there are still family comedies on the air, but of those almost all of them focus primarily on white families – “The Middle, “Up All Night,” “Raising Hope” and “Last Man Standing,” for example. TBS’ “Are We There Yet?” and Fox’s animated “The Cleveland Show” are the only other family-oriented comedies starring African American families. And mixed-race or ethnic families, such as on ABC’s “Modern Family,” are also scarce.
“I’ve seen this movie before,” Bill Cosby said in a recent interview. “How is it that there are people of color who are CEOs of companies, that are presidents of universities, but there is no reflection of that on the networks? It is arrogance and it is narcissism. Even the commercials have more black people than the programs.”
Network honchos, particularly at the four major networks, continue to stress they consider diversity to be a priority both in front of and behind the camera. But progress has been slow in both places. A survey conducted by the Directors Guild of America of more than 2,600 television episodes from 170 scripted TV series for the 2010-11 season found that white males directed 77% of all episodes, and white females directed 11% of all episodes. Minority males directed 11% of all episodes and minority females directed just 1% of the shows, according to the DGA survey.
“Look at the huge number of comedies. There is no black presence,” said Doug Alligood, a senior vice president at BBDO, a New York-based ad agency. “We’re back to where we were in the ’80s.”
Affion Crockett guest stars as Warren, leader of a silent meditation group that kicks Carla (Tracee Ellis Ross) and Ms. Helen (Anna Maria Horsford) out of the spa for talking.
*This Tuesday, November 22, BET’s newest sitcom “Reed Between the Lines” premieres two new back to back episodes beginning at 10pm Eastern/Pacific.
Funny man and impersonator Affion Crockett guest stars as Warren, leader of a silent meditation group that kicks Carla (Tracee Ellis Ross), Gabby (Melissa DeSousa), and Ms. Helen (Anna Maria Horsford) out of the spa for talking. Meanwhile Alex (Malcolm Jamal Warner) supports his oldest daughter, Kaci’s (Zoe Soul) protest of her school’s recycling program. (Scroll down to watch clip.)
Affion Crockett has been seen most recently in the FOX television series “In the Flow” and the movies Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins with Martin Lawrence and Soul Men with Samuel L. Jackson and the late Bernie Mac.
“Reed Between the Lines” is executive produced by Arthur Harris, Jacque Edmonds Cofer and Warren Hutcherson. The series is produced by Tracee Ellis Ross and Malcolm-Jamal Warner.
*She plays zany Helen Wilson, the outspoken receptionist who works for a psychotherapist (played by Tracee Ellis Ross) in BET’s “Reed Between the Lines,” but Anna Maria Horsford recently told Sister to Sister magazine that the show is doing the Black community a huge public service–by addressing the issue of psychotherapy.
The actress said that it takes a little more than sitting in church on Sunday to help some of our brothers and sisters relax, relate and release.
Sometimes it takes a good couch session to cope with your problem. Talking it out with a professional, however, is largely frowned upon by many African Americans, and it’s a trend that Anna Maria is only too happy to address.
“The thing that excites me about this show is dealing—and hopefully we will be effective—dealing with the idea of therapy as an alternative for health problems. A lot of times in our culture, we think therapy is a bad word.”
Horsford said she is enjoying her role on the hit BET series, which also stars Malcolm Jamal Warner and Melissa De Sousa. She said the role of the outspoken receptionist allows her to explore her more eccentric side.
“It’s almost like a woman who has no control over what goes on in her mind and what comes out of her mouth,” the actress said. “Kind of like me in a way. She says the first thing that comes (to mind).”
“It’s all been very surreal. Because I was 14 when Cosby first aired and Nadji Jeter who plays my stepson is fourteen. So some days it’s like, ‘Wow. Where did the time go?’” Warner told BET.com. ”Other times Nadji will hit me on text or Twitter and say like, ‘Yo Pops, what’s up?’ And I’d hit him back, ‘Boy, you do not call me Pops unless we are on camera and we are rolling.’”
Now that he’s been a child star and the roles are reversed, the actor is gladly taking his job seriously as he mentors the children on set.
“Working with Mr. [Bill] Cosby for so many years had a big impact on how I see the life or the job of celebrity and because I was exposed to him I think I handled my fame in a certain way,” says Warner. ”Tracee [Ellis Ross] and I hope that we can have the same positive influence on them [our TV children] when it comes to celebrity.”
General shots on the set of BET's 'Reed Between the Lines' at Turner Studios on August 12, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Paul Abell/PictureGroup)
*Lauren London, Lela Rochon and Leon Robinson have filmed guest turns on BET’s “Reed Between the Lines,” which premieres two new episodes back-to-back on Tuesday (Nov. 1) beginning at 10 p.m.
London guest stars as Carla’s (Tracee Ellis Ross) newest patient Jentry, who seeks Carla’s help as she deals with her mother, Valencia’s (Vernee Watson) alcoholism. [See photo above.] Meanwhile, Don (Leon Robinson) brings his mistress Sherri (Lela Rochon) to seek Carla’s counsel for their affair.
Leon Robinson and Lela Rochon on BET's "Reed Between the Lines"
BET describes “Reed Between the Lines” as a modern day love story that captures the complexity and hilarity of negotiating traditional African-American family values with contemporary ideas of open, honest communication between parents and children.
Deeply in love, Alex (Malcolm-Jamal Warner) and Carla (Tracee Ellis Ross) Reed are an African-American power couple trying to keep it sexy as they juggle kids (Nadji Jeter, Zoe Soul, Zoe Hendrix) and outspoken co-workers (Anna Maria Horsford and Melissa De Sousa).
*TV One’s “Love That Girl” returned this week for its third season with Tatyana Ali as that girl, a young divorcee who returns to southern California while trying to figure out her next move.
The show is among a healthy crop of African American sitcoms that have found a warm embrace on cable. In fact, viewers set a cable ratings record for the premiere of former WB series “The Game” when it premiered on BET last year. The network’s newest offering, “Reed Between the Lines,” is already building a loyal fan base, while TBS has no complaints about its Tyler Perry one-two punch of “House of Payne” and “Meet the Browns.”
Just as cable has become the hotspot for black sitcoms, the big broadcast channels (ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX and The WB) have just stopped trying altogether. Ali, who plays Tyana Jones in “Love That Girl!” says she doesn’t know why the major networks have practiced black flight, but she believes she knows why cable has picked up the slack.
“It’s because people want to see them. People want to laugh, and they want to have that feeling that, people had with “Fresh Prince,” she says of her first sitcom, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. “I still get it, even though it’s been so many years ago. People really felt like we were a part of their lives and a part of their families, like they were growing up with us. People want to feel good and laugh.”
Tatyana Ali and Jaleel White in scene from TV One's "Love That Girl!'
As for “Love That Girl!” which featured another black sitcom veteran, Jaleel White, in Monday’s season premiere, Ali says it’s “wonderful” that TV One has taken a chance on the sitcom genre.
“I started working with them doing ‘TV One Access’ a few years ago and being their first show is just – it’s really amazing. But, yeah, I think they’re feeding an audience that’s underserved.”
In the bonus audio below, “Love That Girl!” creator and executive producer Bentley Kyle Evans says cable networks – and specifically TV One – are more willing than the majors to fall back and trust that the show runners know what they’re doing.
T.I. performs at the BET Hip Hop Awards 2011 at Boisfeuillet Jones Atlanta Civic Center on Oct. 1, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia.
*The BET Hip Hop Awards earned landmark ratings Tuesday night, drawing 4.1 million viewers to become the award ceremony’s most-watched telecast since it premiered in 2006.
As previously reported, Chris Brown took home four trophies at the annual show, which was taped Oct. 1 at the Boisfeuillet Jones Atlanta Civic Center. The night’s other big winners were Nicki Minaj, Lil Wayne and Wiz Khalifa.
Tracee Ellis Ross and Malcolm-Jamal Warner of BET's "Reed Between the Lines"
The strong lead-in helped new comedy “Reed Between the Lines.” The Tracee Ellis Ross and Malcolm-Jamal Warner family sitcom pulled in 3.3 million viewers for its premiere episode at 10 p.m. and 2.9 million for a second episode at 10:30 p.m.