(NEW YORK) — When viewers tuned into The Game’s season premiere on BET last week, they met a new face, Jay Ellis. Ellis has joined the cast for the show’s sixth season as the new San Diego Sabers recruit, Bryce “Blue” Westbrook.
And who did Ellis call right after the show premiered? “It was my mom and dad for sure that I called,” the 31-year-old South Carolina native tells ABC News Radio. “But I forgot they’re like an hour behind so they hadn’t seen it yet, so I was just giving them everything in the premiere and they hadn’t seen any of it yet.”
His mom definitely hadn’t seen him strip down naked during the season premiere. Still, Ellis wasn’t afraid to go there. In fact, that was the first scene he shot on The Game. “[I said] let’s just do it. I’m just gonna sit here. I’m gonna hold myself. I’m gonna be naked and we’re gonna do it,” Ellis says.
His character becomes the new rookie wide receiver for the San Diego Sabers, pushing out longtime wide receiver Derwin Davis, played by Pooch Hall, who left the show.
The series made headlines earlier this year with the departure of Hall, along with his TV wife, actress Tia Mowry-Hardrict. Ellis says he understands why fans were upset.
“I get it,” he says. “This show is one of those things where it imitates real life in a lot of ways because players really do get traded off of teams all the time. And that doesn’t mean we still don’t love those players and we don’t support them wherever they go, but we still have our team that we love and in this case it’s the Sabers.”
And was Ellis offended by Hall’s recent tweets that were deemed by other cast members as “negative” and “irresponsible?” Ellis says, “I don’t think Pooch actually truly means any harm. I just don’t. He’s just not that kind of guy to have a bad bone in his body like that…He’s just not that kind of guy.”
Ellis says Hall even offered advice and told him to feel free to tell writers and producers if he wants to make changes to his character — something Ellis says he wouldn’t have done otherwise.
“When you’re going into something that’s been going for a while, you don’t necessarily think you can walk in and say, ‘Hey, I don’t like this or I don’t like that. Or I want to do this or I want to do that.’ But, if it weren’t for Pooch telling me that I wouldn’t have necessarily known that I could’ve had so much input into who my character is,” he says.
And Ellis says fans can expect a lot from Blue this season. “We get to see Blue move to San Diego. We get to see him find his apartment and his grocery store and his gym. And we get to see his first workout with the team. We also get to see this relationship [with Lauren London’s character Keira Whitaker] maybe develop or maybe not develop,” he dishes to ABC News Radio.
Find out how Ellis’ character develops on The Game when it airs on BET Tuesday nights at 10 p.m. Eastern time.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Madison Park, Keith Allen and Andreas Preuss, CNN
Eric Levenson, CNN
Nate Eaton, EastIdahoNews.com