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Against the backdrop of The CW Television Network’s plans to abandon the half-hour comedy genre at the end of this season, television producer Mara Brock Akil and the cast of the show she created, The Game, are engaged in a bold gambit: to convince the network to expand the show to a one-hour time slot. The show, developed by Brock Akil and husband Salim Akil’s company Akil Row Productions (formerly Happy Camper Productions), revolves around Melanie Barnett (played by Tia Mowry), who leaves medical school to follow her boyfriend as he pursues a pro football career. If Akil, listed among the Black Enterprise Top 50 Hollywood Power Brokers, is successful, it will be the latest milestone in a career of barrier-breaking achievements in the television industry.
The “Change The Game” campaign includes an appeal, including a YouTube video featuring Mowry, Pooch Hall, Wendy Raquel Robinson and other cast members, to fans of the show to register 1 million posts to The CW Lounge message boards by April 15, the day the cast says Brock Akil herself is slated to make her pitch for the one-hour format to The CW. A secondary message of the YouTube campaign is to end “rumors” of the impending cancellation of The Game, after the announced cancellation of Everybody Hates Chris, which it followed in The CW’s 8:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m. time slot on Friday nights.
“As of today [April 10], The Game is not canceled,” Brock Akil says. “However, due to The CW phasing out of the half-hour sitcom business, it is highly unlikely the show can return in its current form. Dawn [Ostroff, president of entertainment at The CW] and I are meeting so she can hear what The Game could look like in the hour format and give it strong consideration as she plans her schedule for next fall. And it certainly feels good knowing the fans are trying to do their part by getting a million hits on The CW web site before I go in to meet, so that I not only go in with a new idea, but I go in with a lot of fan support.”