Over 1,500 people have so far signed an online petition asking cable network BET to reconsider its decision to cancel one of its newest gospel music programs, "106 & Gospel."
"We believe that, if produced, marketed and delivered properly, '106 & Gospel' can be an incredibly viable program," say signers of the petition created three weeks ago. "We respectfully ask that BET reconsider the discontinuation of '106 & Gospel' on the network."
Late last week BET released a statement confirming the cancellation of "106 & Gospel," the spin-off of BET's hit music countdown show "106 & Park." The new show, hosted by Angel Taylor of Tri-I-Tee 5:7 and Jorel Quinn from 21:03, featured music videos, celebrity guests, interactive choir battles, and more.
"Because of our commitment to faith-based programming, we will continue to create new and exciting shows to entertain our audience. However, at times we must also face the hard task of making tough programming decisions, as in the case of '106 & Gospel,' which was recently cancelled," the April 9 statement read. "We will actively continue to create quality programming that resonates with our faith-based community, and we ask for and appreciate your continued support."
According to the signers of the petition, however, the lower-than-anticipated ratings of "106 & Gospel" that likely led to its cancellation were not the result of the program itself, but more likely due to the "several missteps in the execution of the concept for the program" made by the network.
One suggested misstep included airing the show weekly on Sundays at noon – a time when many would-be viewers attend church.
"While we are unaware of every circumstance surrounding BET's business decision, discontinuing the program seems to be an extreme and unfortunate response to problems that may have feasible solutions," petitioners concluded.
"106 & Gospel" made its debut this year on Jan. 11 and has featured guests including award-winning artists Marvin Sapp and Kierra Sheard, among others. It was one of several gospel music shows that BET had produced over the past three decades, including Bobby Jones Gospel, Lift Every Voice, Video Gospel, Celebration of Gospel, and Sunday Best.
According to Nielsen Media Research, BET – a division of Viacom Inc. – reaches more than 87 million households.