*”The Game” premiered its fourth season on BET Tuesday night and set a ratings record for the network, which said 7.7 million viewers tuned in, making it the No. 1 original telecast on the network, and No. 2 of all-time, behind the 2009 BET Awards, which had 10.2 million viewers and took place three days after the death of Michael Jackson.

“We’re coming out hitting hard,” said executive producer Salim Akil. “We really hope it opens BET up to more voices, to more people being able to come in and pitch shows and have a variety of different scripted shows on the network.”

“BET has been absolutely top-notch in the way that they’ve been handling this, from allowing us to be creatively free … to the advertising to now having the cast at TCA,” continued Akil, referring to the current Television Critics Association gathering in Pasadena, Calif. “All of the things that we didn’t get over there at CW, we’re getting at BET.”

While BET hasn’t announced a fifth season, “The Game” is helping the network change its image. The show is the first scripted series for BET, which also premiered its own original show, “Let’s Stay Together,” right after “The Game” Tuesday night; 4.4 million viewers tuned in to watch “Together,” which airs at 10:30 p.m./9:30 p.m. Eastern.

Along with the Queen Latifah-produced “Let’s Stay Together” and “The Game,” BET is also putting together a show called “Reed Between the Lines,” starring Tracee Ellis Ross (“Girlfriends”).