Can Mara Brock Akil Change The Game?

Producer and cast of network TV's only black show campaign for expansion to a one-hour time slot

If the show keeps its half-hour time slot, it begs the question of how the other half-hour would be filled by The CW. However, the fact that The Game deftly blends comedy with serious dramatic themes and does not have a studio audience favors Brock Akil’s proposed expansion to an hour-long format.

Mara Brock Akil

Mara Brock Akil

The Game is ripe for an hour format because the show has already evolved into a single-camera style, the subject matter often takes a dramatic turn due to our desire to remain authentic to the subculture of professional sports, and the serial nature of the relationship arcs have turned the show into somewhat of a nighttime soap opera, leaving our dedicated audience starving for more and, in some instances, dissatisfied with the nineteen minutes of air time they are currently getting each week,” Brock Akil explains. “The hour format would also allow us more time to juggle the compelling story lines of our current cast members, while making way for new characters in the world of football, which we all know is larger than life and full of drama.”

With the cancellations of other CW shows with urban themes, including Girlfriends, One on One, All of Us, and now Everybody Hates Chris, The Game would be the last show on network television with a predominantly black cast. (Tyler Perry’s House of Payne is on cable’s TBS.) In its first two seasons, The Game averaged more than 2 million viewers each week. This season, after being moved to its current Friday-night “death” slot, average weekly viewers fell to 1.68 million. Between seasons two and three, The Game’s ratings in the 18-49 demographic fell from .96 to .07. The CW moving Chris and The Game to Friday nights, when everybody is getting ready to go the club—I mean (ahem), Friday night worship service—probably didn’t help the ratings of either show, to say the least.

To say that Brock Akil’s bid is a bold one is an understatement. Network television has a decades-long track record of limiting black shows to half-hour sitcoms—if it has any programming with black casts or urban themes at all. And with few exceptions, even these shows have been treated shabbily—pimped as a quick way to build viewership (African Americans watch more television than most other groups), shifted to the most difficult time slots, and then unceremoniously dumped as networks fill out their line-ups with “mainstream” programming featuring black and minority actors as secondary characters at best. Past attempts at breaking the 30-minute sitcom time barrier for black shows with anything approaching authentically written, high-quality, hour-long dramas featuring black actors in principal roles and culturally diverse themes have been few and short-lived.

Keep an eye on Brock Akil. Come mid-May, when The CW is slated to announce its new fall lineup at upfronts in New York, she could literally change the game. I, for one, hope she succeeds.

To go to The CW Lounge message boards click here.

Alfred A. Edmond Jr. is the editor-in-chief of BlackEnterprise.com

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  • Please keep the Game Air!

  • An hour I just want it to be on, on a weekday during prime time and not end abruptly like Girlfriends did. I love this show 30 minutes is good enough for me, I just wish it didn’t come on Friday when most people are going out, Monday nights were better.

  • The Game is a Great show. It needs to be back in a prime time slot. Well, better than the Friday Night, if I do not have Tivo I missed it, slot.

  • Lisa Burt

    Please keep The Game pn TV any other week day.. Not Fridays.. But keep it on the air….Do not cancel it.

  • Montie

    I loved it the first season when Melanie was smart and not a video girl who can’t dance. Now she’s just annoying. I love the guys though, especially Tee Tee, Malik, Jason, and Derwin. Oh, and I like Kelly! I want an hour of old Melanie with regular guest appearances from the Superhero guy. He was so cute. Bring him back! But I’ve grown bored with Melanie sleeping with everybody. It’s kinda gross, so I’m indifferent about the show coming back. But I want the fellas to have a spinoff show though!

  • Roz

    An hour still would not be enough for this show. I love all the characters.

  • Life every voice..

  • Angela

    Please keep “The Game” on the air in an hour prime time slot. It is a very good show that young people (adults, too, for that matter) can relate to. It deals with real life issues.

  • The GAME is one of the best shows on television. The CW network is WHACK and RACIST. They never promote the show. It’s all about Gossip Girls, 90210, and whatever other madness they have on their lineup. It’s 2009….WAKE UP CW….African Americans and minorities are doing BIG things, just look at who’s in the White House.

    The Game is a positive show, and it’s very well written, and it gives realistic solutions, to problems that we all through. More importantly it shows, that life isnt always filled with happy endings. Peaks and valleys…which gives us all hope.

  • Ayana

    The Game is best show on CW Network. It should come on either Sunday, Monday or Tuesday night.

  • I’ve heard about this show, but have never seen it. I didn’t think it was still on because I never see advertisments for it. I’ll have to check it out and see what it’s all about.

  • AJ

    I LOVE the Game. I love Malik’s shallow, typical pro ball player butt, I love Derwin and Melanie, I loved Melanie with the “Superhero” guy who came after Derwin, I love Jason and his cheap self. I saved the best for last: Tasha Mack-she is a Piece of Work! Please give us an hour of The Game.

  • li

    As much as I like the show…I don’t think it should last an hour, but they can change the night..no one stays in on fridays…not worth it…BRING BACK and LET US SEE THE LAST SEASON OF GIRLFRIENDS and quit makin melanie look like a stalker looser and tone down tasha’s attitude….make her seem more like a real strong black woman that handles her business and single motherhood with a little class….

  • Tanya Vaughn

    I agree with most of the viewers, the show needs to be aired on a different night and not fridays. They knew what they were doing when the network selected that time slot. I don’t really care about Melanie on the show. I like Tasha Mack and Kelly probably everyone’s character except Melanie. Anyway I am all for an hour but, please on a different night and they need to promote it better. I didn’t even know the show was still on. Now I watch the reruns on BET. I wish BET could just purchase the show.

  • Joan Carol

    If CW keeps THE GAME next season at a time when pride is swelling throughout new corners of our world, trust me when I say that CW’s image to the world community would rise higher on the charts for being the only major network left willing to invest in all the faces of our rising world of diversity.

  • Arie

    You are supposed to be posting the save The Game messages in the CW forum not here and sadly the CW administrators keep deleting posts from the The Game section 🙁 .

  • Maitre

    Enhance the game show, but keep it nonetheless.

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  • kingdavid

    Personally, The Game is not that good of a show. I really liked the first season and the episodes when Derwin cheated on Melanie. After that, the show became a ridiculous soap-opera type of show. Maybe some people like that. But, I don’t.

  • Folake Oladapo

    I love the show, The Game. I feel that this is a REAL depiction of the real world, whether you are the wife/fiance of a football star, or any other profession. It’s been a long time coming for tv to provide a show that depicts truth, where the “happy ending” may not always be the case. The situation that is going on right now between Derwin and Melanie, I am sure is not an original situation and it is easy for viewers to either relate through their own situations or show empathy when watching. I’m sure there are many “Tasha”‘s in the world as well, where being a single black mother and raising your child on your own, you develop a defensive system that often chases people out of your life. This show deserves a 1 hour time slot, because each episode unleashes another lesson in life that we can all use, no matter race, gender or religious background.


  • Dey Williams

    I Love love this show we NEED it to stay on. It seems as if all the shows of interest to the Afro-American community are being canceled or mistreated. First Girlfriends went but we have the Game and I HATE how it ends so suddenly,drives me crazy. If the game were to get a 1hr time slot it would be greattt!! If not then I’ll take the 1/2 hour as long as it comes on.
    It would be nice if it were considered for a prime time slot when people are actually home. If the game got as much backing as 90210 and gossip girl it would soar. It’s a great show and the only reason I watch CW. I did not watch cw until this show came on. Please give this show the props it deserves.

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  • Rosetta James

    I agree that this is the best show on television. I am a late fifties, retired teacher of English in both high school and community college, so I believe I know good writing, excellent plot and well developed characters; and, all of this is creatively interwoven in THE GAME. Through lo these many years, I acquired a Masters Degree in Media Studies and, as a result, I have watched [critically] almost every show on television, most especially the sitcoms and I have yet to see a show that can compare on every level with THE GAME. Mara Brock Akil has got to be one of the best writers ever in order to outdo herself almost every week and even when she is not the one writing the episode, because she is overseeing the writing of other people, knowing what to choose or change, this makes her even more of a genius. My only objection is that the character, Melanie should settle down a bit; she does seem a bit too promiscuous to be totally believed considering her previous good girl image. And Derwin is also becomeing a bit too promiscuous, by now, having outdone even the players on the show. But, Tasha Mack is absolutely perfect — just the way she is. I love this show, love the characters and the people who play them, love the creators, writers, producers. And I thank God that I can say that in addition to FINALLY having someone in the White House who looks like me, this show makes up for all those years when there was nothinhg black on tv but Webster and Diff’rent Strokes. Thank you Ms. Akil. And keep on writing.

  • I love “THE GAME”.

  • Tenneh

    I HATE the Game and glad that its cancled. Mara need to work on bringing Girlfriends back with Toni!!!

  • i love derwin

    Please get the game back on there are so many issues that need to be resolved..tasha and rick..jason and his wife and new girl? Is BET picking them up or what..I will never watch another CW show…They pushed every black targeted show off the air after the UPN/WB merger…It’s sad where are our black moguls who can afford to put this show on? Oprah STAND UP!! You have your own Studio and station and the money to produce anything!!!

  • I really liked your blog! great

  • Ms. Mommy 2

    Please keep the game……..I’m waiting to see what happens!Please keep it. Its a great show!

  • I enjoy the show and look forward to expanding it to an hour, however it needs promotion and a new broadcast day like Thursday!!!

  • Izola Bird

    I love The Game I’m glad you’ll be back on. Whatever happened to GirlFriends. I loved that one too. How can I submit a proposal to Salim Akil?

  • Izola Bird

    Mara could you hit me on facebook?

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