The Game (U.S. TV series)

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The Game
Thegame-titlecard.png
Genre Comedy-drama
Created by Mara Brock Akil
Starring
Theme music composer
  • Kurt Farquhar
  • Def Jef
  • James D. Joiner III
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 7
No. of episodes 129 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)
  • Mara Brock Akil
  • Salim Akil
  • Kenny Smith Jr.
  • Erica Montolfo-Bura
Bylyn lewis
Producer(s) Dan Dugan
Editor(s)
  • Travis G. Rendich
  • Timothy Mozer
Location(s) Atlanta, Georgia
Camera setup Single
Running time 22 to 24 minutes
Production company(s)
Distributor CBS Television Distribution
Broadcast
Original channel
Picture format 1080i (HDTV) (2011–present)480i (SDTV) (2006–2009)
Audio format Dolby Digital 5.1
First shown in April 17, 2006 (2006-04-17)
Original run October 1, 2006  – present
Chronology
Related shows Girlfriends
External links
Website

The Game is an American comedy-drama television series created by Mara Brock Akil. Premiering on October 1, 2006, the series debuted as the only new comedy series chosen for The CW's primetime schedule. Along with Runaway, it was one of only two series on the new network not to be inherited from either of its predecessor networks, The WB and UPN, during the network's first season. The series is a spinoff of the long-running UPN/CW sitcom, Girlfriends.

After three seasons, the series was canceled by The CW in May 2009.[1] BET struck a deal with The Game's parent company CBS to develop new episodes of the series, relocating taping of the show from Los Angeles to Atlanta, and announcing its renewal at the April 2010 upfronts. The Game returned to the air for a fourth season on January 11, 2011,[2] with a record breaking 7.7 million viewers. The series was renewed for a fifth season which premiered on January 10, 2012. Tia Mowry-Hardrict announced on her Twitter that she will not be returning to the series. In June 2012, it was confirmed that actress Lauren London and actor Jay Ellis had joined the cast as series regulars.

In April 2013, it was announced that The Game has been renewed for a seventh season.[3] Season 7 premiered on March 4, 2014.

On April 24, 2014, BET announced the eighth season renewal of The Game.[4]

On October 6, 2014, BET announced that The Game has been renewed for a ninth and final season.[5]

Origin[edit]

With the growing success of the UPN sitcom Girlfriends, that show's creator and producers decided to capitalize on their success and create a second series that would serve as a spinoff. On April 17, 2006, a Girlfriends episode called The Game focused on a young woman who decides to put her pending career plans on hold for the rising success of her star athlete boyfriend. The character, Melanie Barnett, was introduced in the episode as the first cousin of Joan Clayton, Girlfriends' principal character.

The episode performed well and gained enough interest for The CW network to pick up The Game as a new series for its fall 2006-07 primetime line-up. Originally, actress Renee Bruce was cast for the role of Melanie but was later replaced with Tia Mowry (of CBS Television Studios' own Sister, Sister fame). Before debuting on The CW, more cast changes occurred. Aldis Hodge and Jennifer Baxter, both of whom appeared in the pilot episode, were replaced by Pooch Hall and Brittany Daniel respectively. Coby Bell, Hosea Chanchez and Wendy Raquel Robinson were the remaining cast members.

Backdoor pilot[edit]

No. Airdate Title Overview
133* April 17, 2006 The Game Joan Clayton tries to persuade her cousin, Melanie Barnett, to pursue her career in medical school instead of putting her life on hold for her boyfriend, waiting for his career to kick off. Joan is the primary character of the now-canceled Girlfriends.

Synopsis[edit]

As the series premieres, Melanie Barnett (Tia Mowry) is a first-year medical school student who has given up an offer of admission to Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore to follow her boyfriend Derwin Davis (Pooch Hall), a professional football player, to San Diego, against the advice of her parents. Derwin Davis is a first-year rookie with a fictional team called the "San Diego Sabers". As Melanie settles into her new life, she meets Tasha Mack (Wendy Raquel Robinson), the mother of Sabers' starting quarterback Malik Wright (Hosea Chanchez), and Kelly Pitts (Brittany Daniel), the then wife of Sabers' captain Jason Pitts (Coby Bell). As she learns to balance her new roles as both med student and the partner of a professional football player, Tasha and Kelly immediately warn her to keep a close eye on her boyfriend because of the numerous "gold diggers" who approach the professional football players. Over time the relationships evolves with the players and the significant others, leading to the series to more focus on their relationships and less on the sport.

Cast[edit]

Further information: List of The Game characters

Main cast[edit]

  • Wendy Raquel Robinson as Latasha "Tasha" Mack – Latasha Mack (generally known as Tasha Mack) is the mother of Malik Wright and begins the series as his manager. Malik, giving his mother an ultimatum at one point, eventually fires Tasha. It is then that Tasha builds her own management company, Tasha Mack Management. She dissolves the company, however, to join Irv Smiff Management (ISM). In season three, she falls in love with former NBA basketball player Rick Fox, who also works for ISM. Tasha ends up getting fired from ISM, and dumps Rick in the aftermath, assuming that he knew all about Irv Smith's plans to fire her. In the season three finale, Kelly Pitts and Tasha have a falling-out when Kelly discovers that Tasha set her then ex-husband, Jason Pitts, with his then new girlfriend, Camille. The altercation soon turns physical, Kelly punching Tasha. Season four started with Tasha as Derwin's agent. She had also begun dating a much younger man named Donté (played by former 106 & Park host Terrence J). In Season 5, Tasha decided to be celibate after a brief romance with a male escort (Carl Anthony Payne). She eventually falls for her longtime friend Pookie (Rockmond Dunbar). In the Season 5 finale, her ex-boyfriend Rick Fox returns. In Season 6, she appoints herself Sunbeams president due to Jaz arguing with everybody with Tasha and Keira and Chardonnay.
  • Brittany Daniel as Kelly Pitts (starring seasons 1–3; recurring season 4, 7–present) – Kelly Pitts is the ex-wife of Jason Pitts, mother of Brittany Pitts, and former President of the Sunbeams. Kelly and Jason divorced at the end of season three. At the start of season 4, it is revealed that Kelly is now a reality TV star, with her own show centered around the ex-wives of professional athletes. Her character was bumped down to recurring in season 4, and her character was effectively written out of the show in season 4 after she stated to Jason that she needed to head back to home to her parents to find herself again. Daniel has since made no further appearances in the series. In season 6, Kelly is heavily mentioned by the remaining characters (especially Tasha). After being referred to a therapist by Kelly, Tasha reveals that Kelly has since moved to Paris. She made her return in season 7.
  • Hosea Chanchez as Malik Wright – Malik Wright is the San Diego Sabers superstar quarterback and the son of Tasha Mack. Arrogant and cocky, Malik initially begins the series as an immature womanizer. He falls in love with actress Robin Givens and convinces her to marry him as a publicity stunt. In the beginning, he lived with his mom but eventually gets his own place for the purpose of being able to party every night. He also fired his mom in season 2. In the third season, he finally meets his father and his half sister, Pucci, whom he tries to help with her singing career. In season 4, Malik is still a cocky, spoiled playboy who is sleeping with the wife of the Sabers' new owner (guest star Meagan Good). Malik gets incarcerated for assaulting a cop and DUI, and goes to rehab to solve his newfound problems. In rehab, he falls for a troubled supermodel Jenna Rice (Tika Sumpter). Season five, Malik goes toward financial issues and is forced to sell his multi-million dollar mansion and his cars. The Season five finale, Malik ends his relationship with Jenna. He seems to be getting his life together, but have converted back to his old ways.
  • Coby Bell as Jason Pitts (starring seasons 1–3, 6–present; recurring season 4-5) – Jason Pitts is the San Diego Sabers team captain and superstar wide receiver. He is the ex-husband of Kelly Pitts, whom he divorced in season 3. Jason and Kelly have one child, Brittany Pitts. Jason had a girlfriend briefly in season 3 (guest star Stacey Dash); however, he is single at the beginning of season 4. Jason is officially cut from the Sabers in season 4, and he becomes a correspondent on Benched, a sports news television series hosted by former NBA basketball player Chris Webber. In Season 5, he is a correspondent on his own show, The Pitts Stop, and is in a romantic relationship with girlfriend-wife Chardonnay (portrayed by Brandy Norwood).
  • Brandy as Chardonnay Pitts (starring season 6-present; recurring season 5) – Chardonnay is a feisty and sassy bartender. She and Jason met when he came into the bar where she works. Chardonnay refused to serve Jason and Jason ended up telling her boss, who fired her. Feeling bad after he got her fired, Jason takes her out to eat. They wind up in Tijuana. Jason gets drunk and Chardonnay ended up tricking him into marrying her to see if he really loves black women. They returned to San Diego and decide to get their marriage annulled. The Season 5 finale, Chardonnay and Jason decided not to go through with the annulment and stay married. Jason also bought Chardonnay her own day spa.
  • Lauren London as Keira Whitaker (season 6 – present) – a former child star who starred in a fictional 'Cosby'-esque sitcom called Stuck Together. She is struggling to make the transition from child star to adult. Keira is one of the new characters that was introduced in Season 6. Her character does not replace Melanie, but is a new character added into the script. Her love interest it Jay Ellis "Bryce Westbrook". The two meet at a party where they later hookup. After being shut down by Keira, Blue hooks up with Keira's friend Ciara.
  • Jay Ellis as Bryce "Blueprint" Westbrook (season 6 – present) – a wide receiver and the first overall draft pick from Stanford who is highly educated and often the smartest person in the room. But even though he is bright, he is still a young man who has a lot to learn about life, love and himself. Blue is one of the new characters that was introduced in season 6. His character replaces Derwin Davis as a main character. Blue was traded from Baltimore to San Diego in exchange for Derwin. Although this would allow Derwin to be closer to his wife in Baltimore, the trade was not his choice.

Former main cast[edit]

  • Tia Mowry Hardrict (season 1−5) as Dr. Melanie Barnett-Davis, M.D. - Melanie Barnett-Davis is the show's main protagonist. In season one, Melanie is a medical student who gave up the chance to attend Johns Hopkins School of Medicine to move to San Diego with her boyfriend Derwin Davis while attending a less prestigious medical school in the area. Melanie is the cousin of Los Angeles attorney-turned-restaurateur Joan Clayton. In season 1, Melanie and Derwin break up due to Derwin's infidelity, which starts a series of ups-and-downs between the two. In the season three finale, Melanie finally marries Derwin during a private ceremony. In season 5, she decides to pursue her medical career and begin a residency program at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Derwin was against it at first but eventually came around. In May 2012 Mowry announced via her Twitter account that she would not be returning to The Game in season 6.
  • Pooch Hall as Derwin Davis (starring seasons 1-5; guest appearance in season 6) - Derwin Davis is a wide receiver for the San Diego Sabers and husband of Melanie Barnett. In the season one finale, Derwin has an affair with Drew Sidora, and Melanie breaks off the relationship. In the season two finale, he finds out his ex-girlfriend Janay is pregnant with his baby. In the season three finale, Derwin's son is born and he finally marries Melanie in a private ceremony. In the fourth season premiere, there are some questions regarding the true paternity of Derwin's son. Derwin also emerges as a superstar player in season 4, getting numerous endorsement deals, including Nike, and becoming the new face of the Sabers organization. In May 2012, it was announced that Hall would not return to The Game for the 6th season; however in August 2012 it was announced that he would be returning, but Hall would only appear in one episode. In Season 6, Derwin was traded to Baltimore in exchange for Blue, who was chosen by Baltimore as the Number 1 Draft Pick. This allowed Derwin to be with Melanie, who is in Baltimore doing her Residency. The trade, however, was not planned by Derwin, but executed by the team owner because Derwin was responsible for the injury of former teammate and quarterback Kwan Kirkland.

Recurring cast[edit]

  • Barry Floyd as Terrence "Tee-Tee" Carter - Malik's childhood friend, former assistant, and owner of Tee Tee's Cluck Truck. (Seasons 1-present)
  • Erica Gluck (Seasons 1-3) / Katlynn Smith (Seasons 4-Present) as Brittany Pitts - daughter of Jason and Kelly Pitts.
  • Rockmond Dunbar as Pookie - Ex-con; Tasha's old friend and eventual love interest. He is the father of Tasha's newborn baby. (Seasons 3, 5-Present)
  • Jigga as Bibs - Malik's bodyguard. (Seasons 4-present)
  • Candice Patton as Tori - Malik's personal assistant. (Season 6)
  • LaMonica Garrett as Luke Rogers (Season 6)
  • Miranda Rae Mayo as Patreece Sheibani (Season 6)
  • Danielle Nicolet as Yana - A physical therapist who agrees to help Malik recuperate from his injured arm. (Season 7)
  • Carissa Capobianco as Nina - Malik's girlfriend; friend of Keira. (Seasons 6-Present)

Former recurring cast[edit]

  • Shanti Lowry as Dionne Marie Taylor - Derwin's publicist and Melanie's eventual roommate. (Seasons 1-3)
  • Bumper Robinson as Juvon Glenn - San Diego Sabers' Running Back and husband of Jazz. (Seasons 1-6)
  • P.J. Byrne as Irv Smiff - Owner of Irv Smiff Management (ISM). (Seasons 1-3, 5)
  • Gregory Alan Williams as Dr. James Barnett - Melanie's father. (Seasons 1, 3-4)
  • Claudette Roche as Grace Barnett - Melanie's mother. (Seasons 1, 3-4)
  • Tahj Mowry as Cameron Barnett - Melanie's brother. (Season 1, 3)
  • Drew Sidora as herself — singer; Derwin's brief love interest. (Seasons 1-2)
  • Rocky Carroll as Kenny "Coach T" Taylor - offensive coordinator of the San Diego Sabers; Tasha's brief love interest. (Seasons 1-2)
  • Caryn Ward as Erica Harrison (Seasons 1-4)
  • Kendra C. Johnson as Renee Royce - TV personality and one of Malik's love interests. (Seasons 1-2)
  • Chaz Lamar Shepherd as Trey Wiggs - Melanie's college friend and father of Melanie's aborted baby. (Seasons 1-2, 5)
  • Rick Fox as himself — former NBA basketball player; Tasha's co-worker and eventual love interest. (Seasons 2-3, 5-6)
  • Tae Heckard as Jasmine "Jazz" - the former Sunbeams President and Wife of San Diego Sabers' Running Back Juvon (Seasons 2-6)
  • Robin Givens as herself — actress; Malik's ex-wife. (Seasons 2-3)
  • Gabrielle Dennis as Janay Brice - Derwin's ex-girlfriend and mother of his son. In season 5, it was revealed that she is engaged to a man named Noah and decided to take her son DJ and move to New York with her fiance. (Seasons 2-5)
  • Lee Majors as Coach Ross - coach of the San Diego Sabers. (Seasons 2-3)
  • Mehcad Brooks as Jerome - Melanie's ex-boyfriend. (Seasons 2-3)
  • Jason Olive as McHottie - Melanie's love interest in medical school. (Season 3, 5)
  • Michael Boatman as Lawrence Chauncey Wright - Malik's father. (Season 3)
  • Lisa Tucker as Pucci Wright - Malik's half-sister. (Season 3)
  • Stacey Dash as Camille Rose - Jason's ex-girlfriend. (Seasons 3-4)
  • Michael Beach as Roger Keith - Owner of San Diego Sabers. (Seasons 4-6)
  • Terrence Jenkins as Donté - the younger ex-boyfriend of Tasha. (Season 4)
  • Chris Webber as himself — former NBA basketball player; Jason's co-host on the sports news television series Benched. (Season 4)
  • Tika Sumpter as Jenna Rice - Super Model; Malik met Jenna in Rehab; later Malik's love interest. (Seasons 4-5)
  • Meagan Good as Parker Keith - The wife of Roger Keith; had an affair with Malik. (Season 4)
  • Isley Anderson as D.J. - Derwin and Janay's son (Seasons 4-5)
  • Charles Michael Davis as Kwan Kirkland - the San Diego Saber's former quarterback. (Seasons 4-5)
  • Janet Varney as Summer Grayson - co-host of The Pitts Stop. (Season 5)
  • Ciara as Herself — singer; friend of Keira; she hooked up with Blue. (Season 6)

Special guest appearances[edit]

Episodes[edit]

U.S. ratings[edit]

Seasonal ratings based on average total viewers per episode of The Game on The CW. When The Game transferred from The CW to BET, it acquired 7.7 million viewers—which was a record for a scripted premiere on BET.[6]

Season Network Timeslot (ET) Season Premiere Season Finale TV Season Rank Viewers(in millions)
1 The CW Sunday 8:30 p.m. (2006) Monday 9:30 p.m. (2006–2007) October 1, 2006 May 14, 2007 2006–2007 #141[7] 2.33[8]
2 Monday 9:30 p.m. (2007–2008) Sunday 9:00 p.m. (2008) October 1, 2007 May 18, 2008 2007–2008 #196 2.35[9]
3 Friday 8:30 p.m. (2008–2009) October 3, 2008 May 15, 2009 2008–2009 #174 1.75[10]
4 BET Tuesday 10:00 p.m. (2011) January 11, 2011 March 29, 2011 2010-2011 N/A 4.53
5 Tuesday 10:00 p.m. (2012) January 10, 2012 June 5, 2012 2011-2012 N/A 2.69
6 Tuesday 10:00 p.m. (2013) March 26, 2013 September 3, 2013 2012-2013 N/A 3.35
7 Tuesday 10:00 p.m. (2014) March 4, 2014 April 29, 2014 2013-2014 N/A TBA

Lawsuit[edit]

In September 2006, writer Staci Robinson filed a $40 million lawsuit against The CW, CBS, Warner Bros., and Grammnet Productions for copyright infringement. Robinson claimed that she applied for a job as writer's assistant in 2011 with series creator and executive producer, Mara Brock Akil, and then subsequently, sent her novel, Interceptions, to Akil. "Interceptions" is a novel about a woman that decides to put her professional goal of becoming a lawyer on hold to follow her boyfriend as he pursue a career as a professional football player.[11] After receiving the novel, Robinson was interviewed for the job but later declined the position. Robinson alleged that Akil and a CW screenwriter stole the idea from her novel to create the series. The suit was settled out of court under a non-disclosure agreement in September 2007.[12]

Cancellation and revival[edit]

As The CW began abandoning half-hour comedies from its schedule, series creator Mara Brock Akil attempted to convince the network to air the series as an hour-long, single-camera series like the other shows on The CW.[13] The principal cast on the show launched a viral campaign called "Change the Game Campaign" on YouTube,[14] asking all fans to sign the CW message board. Ultimately, despite the campaign and crashing the message board servers twice, on May 20, 2009, Entertainment Weekly announced that the series was officially canceled, not only due to declining ratings, but also budget cut issues.[15]

On April 4, 2010, The Hollywood Reporter reported that BET, which airs the series in syndication, was close to finalizing a deal to produce new episodes of the series. BET announced the deal during its upfronts in April 2010. Series creator and executive producer Mara Brock Akil is expected to return,[16] along with all of the principal cast members.[17] New episodes began airing on BET on January 11, 2011. The premiere drew 7.7 million viewers, making it the biggest ad-supported sitcom telecast in the history of cable.[18] Stacey Mattocks is credited with creating the Facebook fan page for The Game. Upon finding her, BET hired Stacey to run the fan page which at last count was 5.4 million fans.[19][20][21]

Hosea Chanchez officially announced at the 2011 BET Awards that the show would begin its fifth season in 2012.

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Result Category Recipient
2007 NAACP Image Awards Nominated Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series Kenny Smith, Jr. (For "The Trey Wiggs Episode")
2008 Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series Sara V. Finney (For "The Big Chill" episode)
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series Wendy Raquel Robinson
Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series Tia Mowry
2009 Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series Wendy Raquel Robinson
Outstanding Comedy Series
Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series Tia Mowry
Won Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series Erica Montolfo (For episode "White Coats and White Lies")
2009 NAMIC Vision Awards Nominated Comedy
2007 Teen Choice Awards Nominated Choice TV Actress: Comedy Tia Mowry

DVD releases[edit]

Season Releases
The First Season
Set details Special features
  • 22 Episodes
  • 3-Disc Set
  • N/A Aspect Ratio
  • N/A Mins
  • Languages:
    • English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Includes the backdoor pilot episode from GirlfriendsThe Game - Press Release Gives The Game Plan for The 1st Season on DVD
  • Rift and Separate
    • Interview with Mara Brock Akil
  • To Baby...Or Not To Baby
    • Commentary with Mara Brock Akil
  • The Iceman Cometh
    • Commentary with Mara Brock Akil
  • All-Star Blues
    • Commentary with Mara Brock Akil
  • When the Chickens Comes To Roost (Parts 1 & 2)
    • Offseason interview with Mara Brock Akil
Release date
 United States (Region 1)
September 1, 2009

Seasons 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 are also available in the United States and Canada.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Stransky, Tanner (May 21, 2009). "INSIDE TV The CW announces fall schedule: 'Melrose Place' paired with '90210". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved July 22, 2013. 
  2. ^ "'The Game': Season Four Starts on BET in January 2011 at 10 pm est". tvseriesfinale.com. October 12, 2010. Caramanica, Jon (January 7, 2011). "'Game' on: More Real Than Reality TV". New York Times. Retrieved January 11, 2011. 
  3. ^ Bibel, Sara (April 2, 2013). "BET Networks Announces New Programming Including 'Being Mary Jane' & 'T.D. Jakes Presents: Mind, Body & Soul'". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved July 23, 2013. 
  4. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (April 24, 2014). "BET Renews 'The Game,' 'Being Mary Jane,' 'Real Husbands'; Adds 'Book of Negroes' Mini". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved April 24, 2014. 
  5. ^ http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/bet-sets-end-date-game-738646
  6. ^ Seidman, Robert (January 12, 2011). "'The Game' Returns Huge for BET with 7.7 Million Viewers". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved July 22, 2013. 
  7. ^ "Hollywood Reporter: 2006-07 primetime wrap". The Hollywood Reporter. May 25, 2007. [dead link]
  8. ^ "Season Program Rankings from 09/18/06 Through 06/03/07". ABC Medianet. Retrieved February 23, 2013. 
  9. ^ "Season Program Rankings from 09/24/07 through 05/25/08". ABC Medianet. May 28, 2008. Retrieved July 3, 2009. 
  10. ^ "Season Program Rankings from 09/22/08 through 05/17/09". ABC Medianet. May 19, 2009. Retrieved July 3, 2009. 
  11. ^ "Amazon.com: Interceptions (9781583851494): Staci Robinson: Books". amazon.com. Retrieved February 23, 2013. 
  12. ^ Klein, Gary (September 2, 2007). "Tam High grad, TV networks settle suit". marinij.com. Retrieved October 4, 2008. 
  13. ^ Nellie, Andreeva (August 23, 2009). "BET may get into 'The Game'". hollywoodreporter.com. Retrieved December 9, 2013. 
  14. ^ Change "The Game" Campaign on YouTube
  15. ^ Ausiello, Michael. "Fall TV cheat sheet: What's in? What's out?". ausiellofiles.ew.com. Retrieved August 1, 2009. 
  16. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (April 4, 2010). "BET nears deal to resurrect 'The Game'". hollywoodreporter.com. Retrieved April 5, 2010. [dead link]
  17. ^ Pope, Karla (June 18, 2010). "Tia Mowry Talks Double Nuptials". parade.com. Retrieved June 20, 2010. 
  18. ^ Seidman, Robert (January 12, 2011). "Cable Debut of 'The Game' Ranks as #1 Ad-Supported Scripted Series Premiere in Cable History". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved February 23, 2013. 
  19. ^ Stelter, Brian "‘The Game’ Is a Winner, Helped by BET Loyalists", The New York Times, 1/16/1
  20. ^ Szalai, Georg "How 'The Game' Quadrupled Its Audience With Move to BET", The Hollywood Reporter, 1/17/11
  21. ^ Guthrie, Marisa & Vargas, Jose Antonio "Twitter: The Reason Behind BET's Surprise Success for 'The Game'", The Hollywood Reporter, 1/25/11

External links[edit]