*With new BET president Scott Mills taking over day-to-day business for Debra Lee, the network has followed his ordered boost of scripted programming with three new straight-to-series orders, including a half-hour comedic reboot of Eddie Murphy’s 1992 film “Boomerang.”
A writer and producing team has yet been determined, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The 10-episode order hails from corporate sibling Paramount Television. Like the original, it follows a successful executive who finds that his lifestyle choices have turned back on him when his new boss turns out to be a bigger deviant that he is. BET’s reboot is described as an updated version that explores contemporary workplace dynamics, including the changing role of gender, office politics, relationships and the conflicts between Generation X and millennials.
BET has also ordered the comedy “Peachtree Place,” produced by “Girls Trip’s” Will Packer; and drama “American Soul,” inspired by the life of “Soul Train” creator Don Cornelius.
All three pickups were ordered by Mills as part of a push toward what he says BET viewers want most: premium scripted content, according to The Hollywood Reporter. It’s the first programming mandate to come from Mills, who in December was tapped to take over for Lee (with the latter remaining chairman and CEO of the Viacom-owned cable network).
Mills had previously served as Viacom’s executive vp and chief administrative officer, overseeing human resources, real estate, facilities and security. He previously worked for BET Networks, serving as president and COO, where he led business operations.
“The shows that have been most successful on BET are all scripted: ‘The Game,’ ‘The New Edition Story,’ ‘Being Mary Jane,’ ‘Real Husbands of Hollywood.’ When you succeed in that space, it has a wonderful effect on the brand,” Mills told THR.
The goal, Mills says, is to increase original programming by 21 percent, including nine original movies and new scripted series as he looks to leverage relationships with prominent African-American writers and producers and Viacom’s corporate siblings. The scripted push arrives as BET is also bringing back its signature awards shows, including the BET Awards, Soul Train Awards, Black Girls Rock and Hip-Hop Awards.
Below are more details about BET’s “Peachtree Place” and “American Soul”:
AMERICAN SOUL is inspired by the personal trials and professional successes of a young, ambitious and troubled impresario, Don Cornelius. The 10-episode drama is an unflinching look at the entrepreneur, his Soul Train dancers, crew and musicians in a cutthroat Hollywood in the 1970s and how they work, play, rise and fall against the backdrop of the show most responsible for the way African-American culture was perceived by the world. Jesse Collins, Jonathan Prince and Devon Greggory executive produce. Don’s son, Tony Cornelius, will co-exec produce alongside Andy Horne. Greggory will pen the pilot, and Jesse Collins Entertainment will produce.
PEACHTREE PLACE: Packer’s 10-episode comedy follows five thirty-somethings living in Atlanta as they try to build professional and personal lives they can be proud of, but the one thing they don’t have keeps impeding their progress: love. Unresolved feelings from college are uncovered and secrets revealed, forcing these friends to finally deal with uncomfortable truths about each other. Packer executive produces; Felischa Marye will pen the series and co-exec produce; Will Packer Media’s Sheila Ducksworth will also serve as a co-exec producer. Packer, meanwhile, also will produce three movies of the week for BET. Details on the three additional movies of the week, all set to air in 2019, will be announced at a later date.