Where were you when you heard about the 7.7?
Ask anyone involved with BET’s comedy “The Game,” and they will recall every glorious detail. That’s because the number refers to the 7.7 million viewers who tuned in for the fourth-season premiere after the show switched networks from the CW to BET in 2011 — an enormous number that made it the most-watched sitcom premiere in cable TV history. Jaws dropped throughout the TV industry. Tyler Perry sent flowers. Ratings would never reach that number again, but it was still a huge victory for the “The Game,” an occasionally overlooked series about pro football players and their loved ones. The show ultimately ran for nine seasons and 147 episodes total, an impressive run that contributed to ending the drought of African American TV comedies at the time. Now, the upcoming series finale (Aug. 5) marks a bittersweet moment for everyone involved with the groundbreaking show, which made Washington, D.C.-headquartered BET network a player in the scripted TV programming world.
The series, featuring bold, brash characters and intertwining story lines that balanced comedy and drama, helped pave the way for current broadcast hits such as “Empire” and “Black-ish,” executives say. Then there was the 7.7 million, confirmation that an audience would show up.