Paparazzi: The Game


By Claude Julian | ARCHIVES

Stunner Baby Magazine Paparazzi applauses the renewal of BET’s hit series THE GAME. A multi-year deal with Queen Latifah’s Flavor Unit Entertainment and the official green light of original episodes of The Game, are part of the cable network’s new push in scripted television. Under the deal with Flavor Unit, the company has come on board to produce its first scripted comedy project, Let’s Stay Together. Written and exec produced by Jacque Edmonds Cofer, the romantic comedy starring Malinda Williams and Bert Belasco has been picked up to series to launch in Q1 2011.Flavor Unit will also produce the telefilm The Cookout 2, a sequel to the feature The Cookout. The Game, created by Mara Brock Akil. BET’s only previous stab at launching an original scripted series was the 2008 comedy Somebodies, which ran for a season.  With the growing success of Girlfriends, the series’ creator and producers decided to capitalize on their success and create a second series that would serve as a spinoff. On April 17, 2006, an episode called The Game focused on a young woman who decides to put her pending career plans on hold for the rising success of her star athlete boyfriend.

The character, Melanie Barnett, was introduced in the episode as the first cousin of Joan Clayton, Girlfriends’ principal. The episode performed well and gained enough interest for The CW network to pick up the backdoor pilot as a new series for its fall 2006-07 primetime line-ups. After three seasons, the series was canceled by the CW in May 2009. BET struck a deal with The Game’s parent company CBS to develop new episodes of the series, relocating taping of the show from Los Angeles to Atlanta, and announcing its renewal at the April 2010 upfronts. The Game returned to the air for a fourth season on January 11, 2011 with a record breaking 7.7 million viewers.


• Tia Mowry Hardrict as Melanie Barnett-Davis – Melanie Barnett-Davis is the show’s main chief focus. In season one, Melanie is a medical student who gave up the chance to attend Johns Hopkins School of Medicine to move to San Diego with her boyfriend Derwin Davis. Melanie is the cousin of Los Angeles attorney-turned-restaurateur Joan Clayton. In season 1, Melanie and Derwin break up due to Derwin’s cheating-ass, which starts a series of ups-and-downs between the two. In the season three finale, Melanie finally marries Derwin during a private ceremony. Melanie eventually finishes medical school, but puts off doing her residency program to be a football wife.

• Pooch Hall as Derwin Davis – Derwin Davis is a wide receiver for the San Diego Sabers and husband of Melanie Barnett. In the season one finale, Derwin has an affair with Drew Sidora, and Melanie breaks off the relationship. In the season two finale, he finds out his ex-girlfriend Janay is pregnant with his baby. In the season three finale, Derwin’s son is born and he finally marries Melanie in a private ceremony. In the fourth season premiere, there are some questions regarding the true paternity of Derwin’s son. Derwin also emerges as a superstar player in season 4, getting numerous endorsement deals, including Nike, and becoming the new face of the Sabers organization.

• Coby Bell as Jason Pitts – Jason Pitts is the San Diego Sabers team captain and superstar wide receiver. He is the ex-husband of Kelly Pitts, whom he divorced in season 3. Jason and Kelly have one child, Brittany Pitts. Jason had a girlfriend briefly in season 3 (guest star Stacey Dash); however, he is single at the beginning of season 4. Jason is officially cut from the Sabers in season 4, and he becomes a correspondent on Benched, a sports news television series hosted by former NBA basketball player Chris Webber.

• Brittany Daniel as Kelly Pitts – Kelly Pitts is the ex-wife of Jason Pitts, mother of Brittany Pitts, and former President of the Sunbeams. Kelly and Jason divorced at the end of season three. At the start of season 4, it is revealed that Kelly is now a reality TV star, with her own show centered on the ex-wives of professional athletes.

• Hosea Chanchez as Malik Wright- Malik Wright is the San Diego Sabers superstar quarterback and the son of Tasha Mack. He considers himself a playboy and is quite cocky about it. He falls in love with actress Robin Givens and convinces her to marry him as a publicity stunt. In the beginning, he lived with his mom but eventually gets his own place for the purpose of being able to party every night. He also fired his mom in season 2. In the third season, he finally meets his father and his half sister, Pucci, whom he tries to help with her singing career. In season 4, Malik is still a cocky, spoiled playboy who is sleeping with the wife of the Sabers’ new owner (guest star Meagan Good). Malik gets incarcerated for assaulting a cop and DUI, and goes to rehab to solve his newfound problems.

• Wendy Raquel Robinson as Latasha “Tasha” Mack – Tasha Mack is the mother of Malik Wright and starts off as his manager. Malik eventually fires Tasha. She eventually starts her own management company but dissolves it to join Irv Smiff Management (ISM). In season three, she falls in love with former NBA basketball player Rick Fox, who also works for ISM. Tasha gets fired from ISM, and dumps Rick, assuming that he knew all about Irv Smith’s plans to fire her. In the season three finale, Kelly Pitts punches Tasha when she finds out that Tasha set her ex-husband, Jason, up with his new girlfriend, Camille. Season 4 starts with Tasha as Derwin’s agent. She is also dating a much younger man named Donté (played by 106 & Park co-host Terrence J).

BET’s revival of former CW series The Game premiered to a whopping 7.7 million viewers last night. That’s right, 7.7 million viewers — a figure that is sure to be making other cable and network execs salivate right now. The number is stunning because when the sitcom — which is produced by Kelsey Grammer — last aired on The CW during the 2008-09 season, it only mustered a measly 1.8 million viewers, which ultimately led to the show’s cancellation by the fledgling network. (Its Friday night time slot didn’t help either.) BET’s new comedy Let’s Stay Together witnessed its series debut right after The Game, and drew a very healthy 4.4 million viewers. A little vision, media spin, and cross promotion can go a long way!


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