Friday, March 27, 2009

106 & Gospel Cancelled?

Looks like BET's foray into the gospel youth market is done.

Last weekend's episode didn't air and a source who was supposed to be booked on the show told me he saw an e-mail from one of the producers that confirmed the cut. Guess we'll never see that ep Ambassador was supposed to be on.

The show is still listed on the BET website, but it the Magic 8-ball seems to point to "Yes."

My man Tyren put me onto an online petition to get it back though. If you're interested, you can sign it here.

For me, I'm not too surprised by this change. Despite some seemingly good intentions, it was poorly planned and executed and could never really shed the "cheap Christian knock-off" image from its bigger and better 106 & Park counterpart (which at first seemed like a cheap, black knock-off of MTV's TRL.)

If BET does decide to bring the show back to life, here are a few suggested improvemets:

1) The biggest issue is without a doubt the air day and time. For some reason the “Suits” decided to run this show on Sundays at noon.

Really? A program targeted toward the church crowd is shown at an hour when 90% of the audience is still sitting in their pews?

Why not Sunday afternoon or evening? A Saturday morning or midday would work too. At least give us a re-run. As it was before, its connected core had to rely on a DVR to record and replay the show.

2) “106 & Gospel” also seems a bit incestuously biased with its coverage.

In the first five episodes, the artists that received the most amount of air-time included Kirk Franklin, Mary Mary, Tye Tribbet, iROCC, Kikki Sheard, 21:03, and Tri-ni-tee 5:7 – all people already somehow connected to the network’s existing gospel coverage.

I was willing to lend some grace to a new show trying to catch an audience and gain its footing. But after nearly two months on air they should have really tried to reach past those who already have parking spots on the BET lot.

3) Finally, and I know this is tough, I would ask BET to resist the urge to make “106 & Gospel” a show simply about cultural Christianity.

Leave the silly “church carpet” fashion reports, money-equals-blessings beliefs, and “Jesus-the-Magic-Genie” sentiments on the cutting room floor. Embrace the platform you’ve been given and use it to impart something of true spiritual significance.

BET can do this by offering more opportunities for artist testimonies and devotions. They could also share some actual Scripture and point people toward resources they can use to deepen their faith.

One can only imagine how much more God could move with a willing tool like that at His disposal.

I tried to e-mail the e-mail address on their website to confirm this but my message was rejected. I can't find a decent "Contact Us" section on their site either. Anyone know of a valid addy?

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