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'Hit The Floor' Premiere: Why Did [Spoiler] Have to Be Killed Off?

[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for the Season 4 premiere of Hit The Floor, "Slay." Read on at your own risk.]

Now that's how you do a season premiere, right?

Yes, new Hit The Floor episodes haven't aired since the special two-hour Season 3 finale in September 2016. But Tuesday night's hotter-than-hot Season 4 premiere — on BET, the show's new home after leaving VH1 — proved that the drama is as fresh as ever.

What's New When 'Hit The Floor' Returns for Season 4? (VIDEO)

What's New When 'Hit The Floor' Returns for Season 4? (VIDEO)

The sexy and soapy basketball drama is back on a new network, and the show's creator shared what to expect.

As with any season premiere, we had some things explained (where is Zero? why is Derek back but not Ahsha?), met some new faces (I'm already watching out for Eve!), and we also lost an original cast member.

To help make sense of it all and get some teases about what we'll see beyond the first episode, executive producer James LaRosa gave much insight. Let's see what he had to say.

I want to start with Eve (Tiffany Hines). I love that reveal when we find out she's the offspring of Olivia (Charlotte Ross) and Chase (Rick Fox). Is she cut from the same cloth?

James LaRosa: Introducing Eve was definitely a conscious effort to both reward the fans who pay attention to every single detail on the show. Our fans, our Devil's Nation, are all little detectives who screen grab every moment for a clue. And they are smart and sometimes they are sniffing around the right clue. But, we're at a new network, and we're introducing some new characters. We wanted to do it in a way that, if you are just tuning into the show for the first time, you will absolutely be able to understand, 'These are the Devil girls. This is their job. This is the team that's getting together. These are the rivals. This is why they don't like each other.'

As for Eve, we've somehow managed to have her be completely off the radar at this point. No one knows but I think that that is a bloodline that you have to take very seriously. She's incredibly smart. She doesn't suffer fools and she has a very, very specific agenda. I think you will find Eve has really awesome layers and I think Tiffany Hines, who plays Eve, has a lot to play with this season — and people that she gets to play with. I think it will be fun for the audience.

Tiffany Hines as Eve (Photo: BET)

Of course, one of the more shocking moments is you killed Superman! [Both Laugh] Tell me about that decision to kill off Dean Cain's Pete Davenport. 

This season find the Devils in a precarious place. When we left, they were large and in charge and, when we come back, they didn't have Derek. They didn't have Zero so they were already destabilized and I wanted to destabilize them even more. Pete has always been kind of the stable horse, the coach and he's a good protector and what happens when that protection is gone? I feel like you can't sleep on Hit the Floor. You can't just assume because someone's in the opening credits that they stick around beyond that episode.

Dean is an original cast member and there is nothing that can quite prepare you for filming a scene when you're putting Dean Cain on a coroner's slab and pulling the drawer out. And then you have McKinley [Freeman, who plays Derek] giving the performance. That's the other reason why I did it because Season 4 is epic for Derek and having this thing happen really sets him off in a direction, as well.

Say goodbye to Dean Cain as Pete Davenport.

While I'm bummed that Adam Senn isn't back as Zero, I'm so glad you didn't put Jude (Brent Antonello) with someone who looked and/or acted just like Zero. Noah (Kristian Kordula) is different in the best ways. What are your plans with Jude and Noah?

Jude has always been a character who has had a dark cloud over him constantly and the weight of the world always seems to be on his gigantic shoulders. What I wanted to do with Jude and with Brent is to give him someone with a completely different energy. Jude is now out and I wanted to give him someone to play off of — [someone to whom] being out wasn't a big deal at all. Noah is someone who pokes at you, presses your buttons, he's very irreverent, he has no off button, he's got no sensor button. And of course his career is in front of a microphone. He's a fun character and that's just something that we haven't seen around Jude. So finding someone who could basically get under Jude's skin and see how Brent played off, that was very purposeful.

I think there are many different kinds of romantic possibilities and certainly there was something very Wuthering Heights about Zude. Everything was conflict and everything was 'you and me against the world' and with Noah ... who knows what will happen. We'll see. But I wanted to show a different type of relationship, gay relationship, that maybe didn't have to be so heavy all the time.

Jude Kinkade (Brent Antonello, l) is trying to move on from Zero. Is Noah (Kristian Kordula) a good choice?

And let's talk about Derek, who understandably is a little wounded once we find out about what happened with Ahsha. 

For Derek, the last time we saw him, he was on a plane with his new bride headed to Miami and this big, fat deal. Derek was as all-in to his relationship as the audience was so I don't think that you can move on from something so quickly and so easily. However, we've all been in relationships that we thought would last forever possibly — or, at least, we were very confident in — where we were in that moment and then to have it take a horrible left-turn. And somehow come out of that possibly. Derek is going to be struggling on-court and off and I think he's going to be put in a position where he's going to have to make some huge decisions quickly. He always seems to have to do some kind of crazy personal jumpshot with seconds left on the clock. Season 4 is really a giant test of really what Derek is made of.

I love that we get to see Jude with Lionel (Jodi Lyn O'Keefe) since that friendship always seems so real to me.

I absolutely adore Lionel, I absolutely adore Jodi, who is so good with a one-liner.

Agreed!

This season, Lionel gets to be boss lady again of the sports network and, of course, she doesn't give a s**t about sports, so it's great. But she's the friend you want. I don't know why certain things click with me as hard as they do but Jude and Lionel's friendship, to me, is something I absolutely love. I am very protective of it. There are plenty of times when you're doing a story where you're like, 'Oh this person could turn on that person blah blah blah.' Jude and Lionel, to me, are very end-game and I think they're great together. I love watching Jodi and Brent off when they're not filming, just being silly with each other.

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Aaron Paul, Elizabeth Perkins and more join the Octavia Spencer-starring 'Are You Sleeping.'

I was surprised to see Jelena (Logan Browning) back. I thought you may have lost her to Dear White People.

Jelena's absolutely back. The last time we saw her, she was queen of L.A., large and in charge, owning the team. She still does but she has taken hits with the loss of Derek, with the lost of Zero. So she's very determined — as Jelena is a very determined character — to right the ship. She makes some decisions to do so that I think will surprise the audience. And her personal life is also rather interesting. This season, I think we see a different side of Jelena than we've seen in the past. There has been some growth but she's still a character you just do not want to mess with.

And going back to Pete's death, is there more to come with that story? 

You'll have to watch the second episode!

Hit The Floor, Tuesdays, 10/9c, BET

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