charlie wilson BET's "Celebration of Gospel- 2014

Charlie Wilson performs on the 2014 ‘Celebration of Gospel’ show.


After reports came down that BET was canceling its popular “Celebration of Gospel” special, the network has changed its mind and now working to bring it back on the air.

Jawn Murray’s AlwaysAList reports the change of heart came amid a flood of calls to its main phone line and e-mails to its website, not to mention calls to high-ranking BET executives from many top Gospel artists.

An executive with the channel anonymously revealed that BET’s previous decision to cancel “COG” had nothing to do with ratings. It was strictly based on the show “not being profitable.” In addition to great ratings, “Celebration of Gospel” spent 14 consecutive years being the number one gospel/religious telecast on TV.

News of the annual special’s cancellation, which surfaced earlier this month, was confirmed when the “COG” was not mentioned among BET’s list of returning mega-specials at the network’s upfront presentation to advertisers in New York.

“It was simple, the sales team said they couldn’t sell the show because it was a gospel show and without those big sponsorships, the show cost money to produce but didn’t make money for the network,” the source explained to AlwaysAList. “But BET never imagined ending this show would cause the outcry that it received from the viewing public and have decided to see if they can make things work.”

Backlash against BET for cancelling “COG” proved to be too much to handle has the channel privately told several artists that its salute to Gospel was omitted from the upfront presentation because “it was moved to a new month.” Despite this, BET’s other award show special, “Black Girls Rock,” was highlighted for advertisers and the media at the upfronts despite being moved to a new month.

At this time, a specific date for “COG” has not been solidified. According to AlwaysAList, a new production schedule issued to BET employees late last week has the show slated to tape in September/October 2015.

“COG” is currently scheduled to tentatively tape in late fall next year, with the site predicting it would likely air around Thanksgiving.