A daily late-night show hosted by comedienne-actress Mo'Nique, a reality series featuring singer Monica, and a NASCAR-centered reality show were among the new BET series unveiled Tuesday during a sneak preview to local advertisers.
The new shows are the first lineup developed under the network's new co-presidents Loretha Jones and Stephen Hill, who took charge of the African American-oriented network late last year following the departure of Reginald Hudlin. The slate, which leans heavily on reality programming, will officially be announced next week during BET's upfront presentation to advertisers in New York.
Jones, who oversees original programming, and Hill, who manages music programming and specials, plan to highlight the network's new branding strategy of family values and community pride. The network's new emphasis on cultural uplift appears to signal a shift for the network, which came under fire several times during Hudlin's three-year tenure for programming that encouraged what some viewed as negative stereotypes of African Americans.
"Breakin' Up With Mo'Nique" will mark the network's first entry into the late-night arena. Mo'Nique is primarily known for her raucous stand-up routines and comedy films, such as "Soul Plane," but she could be an Oscar contender this year for her dramatic role in "Push: Based on the Novel by Sapphire," for which she recently won a special jury prize at the Sundance Film Festival.
A pair of the network's upcoming reality series will revolve around celebrities. "Monica: Standing Up" will focus on the singer's attempt to rebound following a flop album, and "Crews Control" will focus on actor Terry Crews ("Everybody Hates Chris"), his wife and five children.
Other new reality shows include: "First In," about the Compton Fire Department; "Changing Lanes," a NASCAR series about the search for a winning minority driver; "A Time to Laugh," a religious-themed stand-up comedy show; and "The Hollywood Treatment," a makeover series.
Also, the network's news division will offer up "In Depth" and "Heart of the City."
The preview, however, left unanswered the fate of popular BET shows including "Keyshia Cole: The Way It Is," "American Gangster" and "Baldwin Hills."