Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Black Entertainment Television - Do They Really Got Me?

In the months since the end of 106 & Park, I feel BET has gone downhill in the programming department. In the wake of The Game's final season, leaving Real Husbands of Hollywood and Being Mary Jane as the only scripted series, it looks like the network is going back to making forgettable reality shows. I'll admit, Nellyville had just the right amount of comedy and drama to keep me watching, at least when nothing better was on, but I just can't see it as anything else but filler. For the record, I don't hate reality shows, nor do I think of them as guilty pleasures. It's just that the sheer amount of cookie-cutting crap on TV these days makes me grateful that they brought back Punk'd.

I think the biggest problem with BET is that it relies too much on DVD movies and syndicated sitcoms, but especially the movies; don't get me started on the amount of times I've seen "Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins" and "Life" being played. Even worse, after Centric's rebrand, damn near all of BET's syndicated shows moved to that network; the ones that didn't are played rather frequently on MTV and MTV2.

You'd think BET would be able to balance it out with their original programming, but when an original show does air, it's almost always from the current season, not the past seasons. This is especially jarring when The Game sits at over 140 episodes, yet BET doesn't even find time to air The CW-produced seasons anymore. Granted, BET doesn't order a lot of episodes, and quality will always triumph over quantity, but it would be nice to see something different for a change.

Instead, viewers are stuck with the same movies over and over again, unless you live in Canada, in which case, you're stuck with the same music videos over and over again. Yeah, did I mention that certain programs on BET are, excuse the pun, blacked out due to programming rights? Even shows from a sibling network, especially if it's available in Canada (Spike), will be blocked. When such programming airs, Canadian viewers are treated to reruns of BET Now and The Pull-Up: old music video blocks. Not old as in the 90s, old as in "contemporary songs from only a few years ago". Needless to say, it gets repetitive after a while. Thank god for FEVA TV!

I'd like to believe that all of these problems are a result of Viacom spreading themselves too thin. If BET still aired gospel and hip-hop videos, rather than just shunt them off to spin-off channels that no one will watch (nor will cable providers want to pick up), they wouldn't have to air the same damn movies over and over again. They already have MTV Jams anyway, and it would be a cheap, yet refreshing, change of pace in a world without 106 & Park and Bobby Jones Gospel. Besides, with Vevo TV Flow and other internet-based services, I can get my fix without a cable subscription.

Furthermore, if MTV2 is only good for reruns and crappy movies (No seriously, the movies they air CRAP!), instead of shows related to hip-hop and rock music, then it should have been shut down long after Sucker Free got cancelled. With their crappy ratings, MTV1 can benefit from the gender-balanced audience MTV2's programming brings. It's not like any original show on MTV2 not named Wild 'n Out or Guy Code will make it past 26 episodes anyway, not even the reboot of Celebrity Deathmatch is safe.

Ultimately, in their current state, targeting a younger demo will not change BET's fortunes; it just makes the competition look better. I don't believe the network is in any trouble because, right now, change is happening all across Viacom's networks. That being said, I do believe it's time for a change at BET. They say they got me, but I got better networks to watch.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.