BET’s ‘Sunday Best’ appears to be cancelled – or at least not coming back in 2016

Season 8 All Star winner Dathan Thigpen. CREDIT: BET

Season 8 All Star winner Dathan Thigpen. CREDIT: BET

By RODNEY HO/ rho@ajc.com, originally filed Tuesday, June 1, 2016

Over 11 years covering TV, I’ve dealt with plenty of networks who have shot in Atlanta. BET has been one of the most active… and one of the strangest ones when it comes to declaring whether a show is dead or alive.

Management there is loathe to acknowledge when a show has been cancelled. For many shows, it leaves the status “up in the air” until it just sort of fades away. (An exception: its biggest show to date “The Game.” BET made a big deal out of its departure last year.)

I can get that certain shows such as “Frankie & Neffe” or the reboot of “BET ComicView” just go away with no announcement or acknowledgement. And Brandy’s new sitcom “Zoe Ever After” died on the vine in terms of ratings earlier this year so the fact it is probably not coming back is not a surprise.

But what about “Sunday Best”?

The signature gospel music reality competition singing show has aired for eight seasons, most shot out of Atlanta. It’s been BET’s longest-running original reality program. And singers on the show have had success. Season 3 winner Le’Andria Johnson, for instance, won a Grammy for best Gospel/Contemporary Christian Music Performance in 2011 and was part of the cast of Oxygen’s “Preachers of Atlanta.” Its ratings were solid on Sundays, last year averaging 1.2 million viewers.

Season eight’s all-star version taped at Turner Studios in Midtown in April and May of 2015 and aired over the summer. That’s been pretty typical. This year, there has been no production of any sort, no audition announcements, nothing.

This year, BET has been 100 percent silent about the show’s future. Publicist Robert Avery had no information to offer me, not a single hint whether the show is going to come back or not. He also was unable to tell me when clarity might come, be it 30 days, 60 days or 300 days.

In all likelihood, BET has placed the show on hiatus, ready to bring it back whenever it needs or wants to.

Host Kirk Franklin’s label office referred me back to BET, which was a dead end.

The BET website for the show has not been updated since last September.


View Comments 0