After 35 seasons, BET has decided to end their long-running series “Bobby Jones Gospel.”
“Bobby Jones Gospel” is hosted by Grammy-winning recording artist Dr. Bobby Jones, who launched the show in 1980 and used to produce the series himself before BET took over the production aspects of the series.
The music performance show gave an international face to gospel music as the premiere destination for faith-based recording artists to be seen on television. The show is credited for helping to launch the careers of artists like Kirk Franklin, Yolanda Adams and others.
In addition to the who’s who of gospel artists that have appeared on the show, mainstream entertainers like Patti LaBelle, Ashford & Simpson, Stephanie Mills, Kenny Lattimore, Dionne Warwick, Coko of SWV, Raheem DeVaughn, Lil’ Mo and the late Maya Angelou, among others, have also appeared.
While gospel insiders have known the show was ending for months now, BET made the decision known publicly during their upfront presentation to advertisers and media in New York City last week.
The 75-year-old host will retire from hosting the series that bears his name, but he’ll continue to tour both in the U.S. and abroad with his renowned Nashville Super Choir. The music ensemble has been choral cast of “Bobby Jones Gospel” under the direction of musician Derrick Lee.
Though Dr. Jones’ show is the longest running original series on cable, the Paris, Tennessee-bred talent has never received any recognition by the Emmy Awards or the TV Land Awards for his record-breaking stint in television. And while he does have a star on the Music City Walk of Fame in Nashville, Dr. Jones’ accomplishments in television certainly warrant BET landing him a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Cable television’s longest running original series will tape its final season this summer in Washington, DC and begin airing the farewell shows starting in October 2015.