This is shaping up to be a very good year for Blacks in Hollywood. I know I sound optimistic, that’s because I am.

TV One and BET are beginning to truly step up to the plate and present original programming (‘Love That Girl’ TV One) that not only hires Blacks in front of the camera, but behind it as well. These shows represent not only a new generation of producers, writers and directors, but capitalize on the experience, skills and passion that the brother and sisters from ‘back in the day’ learned under the gun.

Over the holidays, I spent a considerable amount of time with my family who live in Texas. I consider them and the other Black southerners and Midwesterners the ‘real Black people,’ when it comes to the T.V. shows and movies they look at. These are the people who keep Black actors working. They make it a point to see Black movies, and buy the magazines that promote and celebrate Black talent.

Living in LA, I think you forget that ‘down home sense of support,’ and it’s really refreshing to see it in Texas. I think I saw more episodes of “Martin,” “The Game,” ‘Soul Train,” “Meet the Brown”‘ and a bevy of other Black television shows than I’ve ever seen in some time, and I enjoyed every minute of it.

BET is showing itself to be a real player in this game of television programming and ratings. Not only did they successfully bring back ‘The Game”–starring Coby Bell, Hosea Chanchez, Brittany Daniel, Pooch Hall, Tia Mowry and Wendy Raquel Robinson–picking up where the show left off at the end of the third season, but they’ve added a new sitcom, ‘Let’s Stay Together’ described as a journey through the highs and lows of love and relationships.

Love has no limit or boundaries, when it’s real. “Let’s Stay Together” is an updated, urban-romantic comedy that takes an unconventional look into the lives of five young, ambitious African Americans. The series centers on a married couple, an engaged couple and a single sister who all take courageous steps as they navigate life, love and matrimony.

The cast includes Bert Belasco (“Community Service,” “House”), Joyful Drake (“Get Him to the Greek,” “Beauty Shop”) Nadine Ellis “Lie to Me,” “Iron Man 2”), Erica Hubbard (“Lincoln Heights,” “Akeelah and the Bee”), and Ron Reaco Lee (“The Good Guys,” “Madea Goes to Jail”).

The executive producer of “Let’s Stay Together.” Jacque Edmonds Cofer, was responsible for some of our favorite shows from the past. Cofer was the co-executive producer of Fox’s “Living Single” and the executive producer of “Moesha.”

Her other credits include co-executive producer of “Abby,” “All About the Andersons” and “Cuts.”

Her professional work has garnered her an Image Award from the NAACP, a PRISM award from the National Institutes of Health, two SHINE awards, the President’s Award from the Alliance of Black Entertainment Technicians and the Today’s Hope Award from The Links Inc.

I will keep you

Gail can be reached at hollywoodbychoice_gail@yahoo.com.