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The Game: Will the CW Sitcom Survive or Be Cancelled?

The GameWhile it’s looking less and less likely that the CW will renew The Game sitcom for a fourth year, series creator Mara Brock Akil is apparently interesting in changing the show in order to score a renewal. Is it a winning strategy?

The Game is a spin-off of the Girlfriends, the once successful sitcom that ended abruptly last season. Premiering in 2006, The Game revolves around Melanie Barnett (Tia Mowry), a first year medical student who gives up her school plans to follow her professional football playing boyfriend Derwin Davis (Pooch Hall). Others in the cast include Brittany Daniel, Coby Bell, Hosea Chanchez and Wendy Raquel Robinson.

In its first season, The Game averaged 2.3 million viewers each week. For season two, the ratings dropped to 2.07 million and a .96 rating in the 18-49 demographic. This season, CW execs have stranded the series in a little-watched Friday night timeslot. It’s fallen to an average of 1.68 million viewers and a tiny 0.7 rating in the demo.

Along with fellow sitcom Everybody Hates Chris, The Game hasn’t exactly been a ratings powerhouse. It looks very likely that Chris will be cancelled in May but will have 88 episodes, enough for a syndication run that’s scheduled to start on Nick at Nite this Fall. In contrast, The Game will only have 64 episodes.

A renewal for The Game would create a programming conundrum for the CW. With no other half-hour programs in development, they’d have an orphan half-hour in their timeslot to fill.

Would you watch The Game if it moved to BET?

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The Hollywood Reporter says that one possible solution would be to turn The Game into an hour-long dramedy. The change wouldn’t be a big stretch since the sitcom doesn’t use a studio audience and already mixes comedy with drama. Akil is expected to pitch the idea to the network sometime this week.

The plan is considered a longshot at best considering The Game’s weak ratings and the fact that it doesn’t mesh well with the network’s upcoming slate of dramas. Switching time formats could also cause a problem in syndication, unless each of the hour episodes could be cut into two 30 minute installments.

If the CW network ultimately passes on renewing The Game, the show could still continue. In February, the BET cable channel signed a syndication deal to air the first three seasons. At the time, Barbara Zaneri, BET’s Executive VP of Acquisitions, told Variety, “This [show] is something I went after the minute I got to BET. Not only does it have really fresh African-American stars, but it has a great lineup of guest stars. People like Robin Givens and Vivica Fox — these are people who are regularly on our network.”

It’s been reported (and Mowry recently confirmed) that BET execs have discussed with CBS the possibility of funding a fourth year. The deal would likely entail some cost-cutting to make the deal affordable for the cable channel but it’s in CBS’ best interests to make it work.

Will the show get some “extra innings” or is The Game over? We’ll likely have to wait until May 21st to find out for sure.

 

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{ 680 comments… read them below or add one }

Ronaldlyn Prieto June 5, 2012 at 7:50 pm

I’m glad that, The Game is truely going in the right direction. It’ about time Drewin support his wife. It’s takes two, to make it work. She needs a baby because it’s not fair to there relationship. It’s good to see Mr. Wright growup and now he should find a good relatioship. No Rick Fox and let Jason stay in his relationship, it’s good for him.

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crystal June 5, 2012 at 7:45 pm

Dont take ” The Game” off the air I watched the marathon for four days straight….I love this show and can’t wait for season four. Its real life…. I love love love it…

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crystal June 5, 2012 at 7:41 pm

I so love “The Game” I just spent four days sitting here watching the marathon. Gotta bring it back for a season four. Don’t know why this show has low rating cause its awesome…….

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Ashera jordan March 28, 2011 at 10:37 am

Im so mad about this change just when the show is getting good. I wait week after week to watch this show even took time to order cable so I would’nt miss the show. I dnt want them to take this show off they have to keep this show up in running just think of the viewers thats going to be highly upset about this ending. If you ask me the show is not on enough dnt take it off find a solution to the cost. And this could crush alot of the game fans (tears) so sad to see that happen. But I can truly say im looking for the rest of season 4. Thanks for ur time and the game.

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