With little fanfare, this morning BET J relaunched as the new, 24-hour entertainment network Centric. The channel — a partnership between BET Networks and MTV Networks — features artists, music, series, movies and reality programming geared toward African-American and multicultural adults in the 25-54 year-old demographic.
Some highlights of what’s on Centric during its launch week:
9am-9pm ET: Fame — episodes of the TV series based on the 1980 film, starring Debbie Allen, Gene Anthony Ray, Carlo Imperato, Albert Hague, Carol Mayo Jenkins and Valerie Landsburg.
9pm: Soul Train: Michael Jackson — A classic, original episode of the urban music series, featuring Jackson.
10pm: MJ: Our Icon — An intimate profile of Michael Jackson, featuring exclusive footage from his December 2007 Ebony photo shoot.
11pm: Inside the MJ Mansion — This special takes an intimate, guided tour of Michael Jackson’s last home, and includes interviews with friends and colleagues.
10pm & 10:30pm ET: Leading Women — This original series chronicles the lives of celebrity divas such as Patti LaBelle, Iman, Naomi Campbell and Chaka Khan.
11pm: Preaching to the Choir — In this dramatic movie, two twins grow up in Harlem but take different paths when they get older. One becomes a minister, the other a gangster rapper. Tichina Arnold and Billoah Greene star.
10:30pm ET: Leading Men — A series chronicling the lives of celebrity trailblazers including Common, Hill Harper, Brian McKnight and Boris Kodjoe.
11pm: Notorious B.I.G.: Bigger Than Life — He captivated everyone from Jay Z to Tupac. Now Notorious B.I.G. is revealed in this documentary. Hear the stories from his closest friends and some of the biggest names in Hip-Hop. See raw footage of B.I.G. free-styling on the streets of New York, rare home video footage, a never-before-seen interview with Biggie shortly before his death and undisclosed video footage from the night of his murder. Featured in the doc are Biggie, Common, Diddy, E-40, Sticky Fingaz, Jay-Z, Method Man, Raekwon, and Voletta Wallace.
6pm-7:30pm ET: Soul Stage — Stirring performances from neo-soul artists like Erykah Badu, Jill Scott and India.Arie.
Coming in November, Centric will air The Soul Train Awards, slated to premiere Nov. 29.
“This couldn’t be a more perfect time to debut the Centric brand and build from BET J’s strong music foundation, bringing a fresh offering dedicated to the African-American and multi-cultural adult audience,” said Scott Mills, BET Networks President and Chief Operating Officer. “CENTRIC is all about reflecting the beautiful life that our audience has created for themselves and the one they are still reaching for. This is a time of profound cultural change and we are simply thrilled to have the opportunity to super-serve this audience, with compelling content that reflects their lives, tastes and aspirations.”
Why the somewhat quiet changeover? Mills told Multichannel News that “This is our soft launch, so we didn’t mind putting it out in this time frame. … We’ll do a very big, noisy launch in January, but we know our audience is excited about what we’re about to do so, we’re putting it out there.”