BET Casts First White Lead in Network's History with Comedian Gary Owen's New Reality Series

BET Casts First White Lead in Network's History
D Dipasupil/BET/Getty

04/20/2016 AT 10:00 PM EDT

In a historic move for the network, Black Entertainment Television unveiled its 2016-2017 lineup of shows on Wednesday, revealing its first series with a white lead.

Comedian Gary Owen will star in a reality show – Gary Owen Family – which Owen said will follow the antics of his culturally blended family, as his wife is black and their children are interracial.

"This is the new face of the American family," Owen said at the network's upfront, before joking, "I feel like Ben Carson at the GOP debate."

The half-hour reality show is the first series in the network's 36-year history to have a white lead.



Although the show does not yet have a release date, the announcement comes after months of controversy over racial diversity in the film and television industry.

In January, actress Stacey Dash slammed the network for promoting segregation and called for the abolition of BET and Black History Month.

"I think it's ludicrous," Dash, 40 said during an appearance of Fox & Friends. "We have to make up our minds. Either we want to have segregation or integration. If we don't want segregation, then we need to get rid of channels like BET and the BET Awards and the [NAACP] Image Awards, where you're only awarded if you're black."

However, BET was quick to call out the actress, reminding her that she's appeared on episodes of The Game, a series originally aired on the CW, but moved to BET at the start of its fourth season.
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