BET Networks and Marvel Animation are teaming up to produce an animated series based on the legendary superhero, The Black Panther. Casting is already underway for the series that is slated to premiere in the first quarter of 2009. A special sneak preview will premiere at Comic-Con in July during BET's panel on Saturday, July 26. The series will be adapted directly from the first six issues of the Marvel Comic written by Reginald Hudlin (issues #1 - #6 "Who Is The Black Panther").

The partnership between Marvel Animation and BET Networks marks an important milestone in the expansion of the channel's animation division and the realization of a project that has been a labor of love for BET's President, Entertainment, Reginald Hudlin.

"As a lifelong comic book reader, I didn't think anything could top the excitement of writing one of my favorite characters, the Black Panther. I'm so proud I've been able to maintain a successful run of the series over the past three years while keeping my 'day job' of programming a network. But now to have both of my worlds collide, to have a faithful adaptation of my own work as a prime time series on the network -- it's a dream come true. The Black Panther has always been an inspirational character to me, and now I get to share that inspiration with the widest audience he's ever had.

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"I'm very excited to be working with Marvel. It's been great working with Joe Quesada and Axel Alonso on the publishing side, and I look forward to a similar experience with Eric Rollman and his team at Marvel Animation.

"I want to give special thanks to Denys Cowan, my SVP of Animation, who is doing a fantastic job of bringing the art of John Romita Jr. to life," says Hudlin.

Eric Rollman, President of Marvel Animation adds, "The Black Panther is a working example of Marvel's initiative to broaden our fan base by working with new and innovative partners. Reggie and his team can uniquely take material that is near and dear to them and re-imagine it for a whole new audience. We look forward to a long and successful relationship with BET."

The Black Panther animated series is executive produced by Reginald Hudlin, President, Entertainment and Denys Cowan, SVP Animation for BET Networks. Eric Rollman, President of Marvel Animation, and Cort Lane, Director of Animation Development, are the executives on the series for Marvel.

About BET Networks

BET Networks, a division of Viacom Inc., is the nation's leading provider of quality entertainment, music, news and public affairs television programming for the African-American audience. The primary BET channel reaches more than 87 million households according to Nielsen Media Research, and can be seen in the U.S., Canada and the Caribbean. BET is the dominant African-American consumer brand with a diverse group of business extensions: BET.com, a leading internet destination for Black entertainment, music, culture, and news; BET Digital Networks -- BET J, BET Gospel and BET Hip Hop, attractive alternatives for cutting-edge entertainment tastes; BET Event Productions, a full-scale event management and production company; BET Home Entertainment, a collection of BET-branded offerings for the home environment including DVDs and video-on-demand; BET Mobile, which provides ringtones, games and video content for wireless devices; and BET International, an extension of BET network programming for global distribution. For more information visit BET.

About Marvel Entertainment

With a library of over 5,000 high-profile characters built over more than sixty years of comic book publishing, Marvel Entertainment, Inc. is one of the world's most prominent character-based entertainment companies. Marvel utilizes its character franchises in licensing, entertainment (via Marvel Studios and Marvel Animation) and publishing (via Marvel Comics), with emphasis on feature films, DVD, consumer products, video games, action figures and role-playing toys, television and promotions. Marvel's strategy is to leverage its franchises in a growing array of opportunities around the world. For more information visit www.marvel.com.

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