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“The Game” returns

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View photos from the show's premiere party <<

 

When it comes to the San Diego Sabers, on CW's "The Game," scoring touchdowns is half the story. The other part unfolds on the sidelines.

Here's the play-by-play: Melanie and Derwin are about to reconcile when Derwin's ex announces her pregnancy. Jason, now steroid-free, might have finally pushed his doting wife, Kelly, to the brink. Meanwhile, Tasha has been laid up with her coworker. Oh, and Malik, who's fired Tasha as his momager, has jumped the broom with none other than actress Robin Givens!

Although most of the actors play fictional characters, their problems mirror everyday life. Exploring those parallels is what executive producer Mara Brock Akil imagined when she created "The Game" three years ago. Now, she's got us staying tuned for more. According to the Nielsen Co., "The Game" dominates the half-hour comedy spot in Black households, which was left vacant last spring by Girlfriends, also Akil's brainchild. So who'll be winning off-field this season?

For the record, most folks are rooting for a Team Merwin reconciliation, but the often-strained interracial union between Kelly and Jason might not fare so well.

We're handing it to Akil for tackling the true-to-life image of the Black athlete who marries the White woman. "[On the show], we're very vocal about when a brother marries outside the race," says Akil. "That's what Tasha's character represents toward Kelly. But they've formed a friendship out of being bold, brash and confronting the race issue."

In case you've been agonizing over who's in for the long haul and who's throwing in the towel, do know that producer Akil feels your pain. "I hear the audience—and please put this in there—I know they want a happy, good couple," says Akil. "I want that, too, but I'm just showing the journey of how you get there."

The new season kicks off on October 3.

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