The history of the “Bobby Jones Gospel” show began after the show was picked up by the BET network in 1980. The show was hosted by Bobby Jones, a Grammy Award-winning gospel singer, and featured performances by several gospel artists. As of 2015, the show became the longest-running program on the BET network. The same year, the show’s history came to a close following its 35th and final season.
Until 1980, the gospel industry had no visibility beyond radio airplay and concerts. The show featured Jones inviting unknown or established gospel artists to debut new songs. The appearances helped launch several careers and helped some songs top the gospel music Billboard charts. BET has also launched other gospel-related shows, but “Bobby Jones Gospel” remained its only weekly musical showcase. In 2015, the show attracted an average of 713,000 viewers a week, with an 18- to 24-year-old demographic.
On Change.org, a petition was started after the news of the show’s ending was released. The petition’s organizers claimed the show must remain on the air due to the heightened times of chaos in the world. According to The New York Times, the show is ending due to Jones being ready to retire and is not being cancelled by the network.