BET unveiled its 2017-18 programming slate at its upfront presentation today and while there were the new scripted shows put into development (e.g. 30-minute dramedy Divorced Saved My Marriage, produced by Kevin Hart) and the network highlighted its fleet of live events (e.g. Black Girls Rock, the BET Awards, the Soul Train Awards, etc.), the most interesting bit of news was that the network has officially acquired two scripted shows from fellow Viacom network VH1 – dance team drama Hit the Floor and hip hop drama The Breaks.
Currently in the middle of an extensive rebrand, Viacom has been reorganizing its considerable portfolio of networks in order to turn the tide of recent ratings declines. The corporation hasn’t been a stranger to cross-pollination, moving acclaimed reality-competition series RuPaul’s Drag Race from Logo to VH1 and shifting two comedies in development at TV Land to the forthcoming Paramount Network, but the moves of Hit the Floor and The Breaks are quite the surprise. It’s a sign that VH1 is easing off of scripted development, considering that these were their only two current dramas, and choosing to focus its energy on unscripted (akin to A&E’s recent announcement of the same), while BET’s scripted slate will be beefed up in the coming years.
Debuting in 2013, Hit the Floor follows the Devil Girls, a dance squad associated with professional basketball team the Los Angeles Devils. The series, from the point of view of newest Devil Girl Ahsha (Taylour Paige), chronicles the scandalous behind the scenes action at Devil headquarters, the treacherous rivalry between Ahsha and Devil Girl captain Jelena (Logan Browning), and the hidden dangers that come with getting everything you ever wanted. Hit the Floor underwent a nearly two-year hiatus between its second and third seasons and most recently aired what felt like a series finale special in September. It’s as yet unclear who from the cast will be returning for a fourth season.
A continuation of the story began in the VH1 movie of the same name, The Breaks follows three friends as they navigate the hip hop scene in 1990 New York. The series, which had its first season finale earlier this month, focuses on the pitfalls of fame, the difficulty in getting put on in the first place, and how a little bit of infamy can strain even the tightest of relationships. From former record executive Dan Charnas and Seith Mann (Fringe), The Breaks stars the likes of Afton Williamson (Nashville), Wood Harris (The Wire), Tristan Wilds (90210), Evan Handler (Sex and the City), and David Call (Rescue Me).
Also renewed today was HBCU drama The Quad, a BET original that premiered earlier this year. Starring Tony winner Anika Noni Rose (Dreamgirls), The Quad tells the story of Dr. Eva Fletcher, the esteemed president of Georgia A&M University. Newly appointed after separating from her husband, Eva is faced with a school with a busted reputation on the verge of financial ruin, all of which she has to turn around quickly lest the resentful men who want her to fail get the ammunition necessary to oust her for good.
In addition to Rose, The Quad stars Jazz Raycole (My Wife and Kids), Peyton Alex Smith (Mad Money), Ruben Santiago-Hudson (The Devil’s Advocate), and Jake Allyn (Ex-Patriot).
You can check out BET’s entire 2017-18 programming slate here.