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'Forward in faith' BET's Celebration of Gospel highest ratings in 14 years

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Over two million people tuned in to the Celebration of Gospel (COG), this past weekend, setting an all time high for BET. In a press release today, BET divulged the Nielsen ratings from Sunday evening telecast. Some of the music industry's greatest R&B/Soul and Gospel singers took to the stage to celebrate with awesome performances.

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Opening the show, Taraji P. Henson put to rest the notion that Steve Harvey was ousted by the network. She made reference to Harvey passing the torch and she gladly accepted. Taraji in grand fashion and some comedic moments introduced herself to the audience as the new host.

Chicago was represented well by Gospel music newcomer, Jonathan McReynolds, playing his guitar and singing his hit single "No Gray" accompanied by R&B/Soul singer India Arie on flute and guitar. The collaboration left the crowd wanting more. Jonathan's smooth jazz laced vocals showcased an experience of music beyond his years. Coupled with India's earthy sultry vocals, she medleyed her song "Moved By You" with Jonathan. (Click here to purchase on iTunes.)

BET was very strategic in advertising clips of the collaborations in television commercials and photos in print, which contributed to their overall ratings' success. Their social media campaign included Twitter interviews with several of the artists leading up to the airing of the program.

Excerpts from press release:

"According to the Nielsen Company, “Celebration of Gospel” 2014 holds the #1 spot in COG franchise history among Households and was seen by an average of 2.6 million total viewers. All key [demographics] were up double-digits vs. COG [20]13 led by target [demographics] Adults 18-49 (+48%) and Adults 18-34 (+64%). “Celebration of Gospel” remains the #1 gospel/religious telecast on TV for 14 consecutive years, #1 Sunday Special on Cable in 2014 among Adults 18-49 and last night’s premiere was the #1 Sunday BET telecast for 2014 to date among Adults 18-49."

"Celebration of Gospel" illuminated the digital sphere with spirited performances and moving renditions by some of today’s hottest and most talented artists from the worlds of gospel and R&B. The telecast topped the charts in the social media and digital arena with thousands of tweets regarding the gospel celebration. According to Social Media Guide, on twitter the 2013 “Celebration of Gospel” was up 26 % Year-Over-Year with more than 116K interactions the night of April 6. Several worldwide top trending topics on Twitter were traced back to the empowering telecasts including “Celebration of Gospel” and “Charlie Wilson” which at 9:02 PM ET garnered over 3,500 tweets that minute."

Celebration of Gospel” also set a record for BET.com traffic across all key metrics for day of show. Page views on the site were up 78% Year-Over-Year and Video Views netted 180% over 2013.*"

"This year’s “Celebration of Gospel” continued the tradition of unique collaborations between the best in soul and gospel music featuring moving performances by Yolanda Adams, Charlie Wilson, Tasha Cobbs, India.Arie, Tamela Mann, Kem, Donnie McClurkin, SWV, Erica Campbell, Candice Glover and many more."

Encore telecasts of “Celebration of Gospel 2014” include:

Thursday, April 10 at 8:00 p.m. est
Saturday, April 12 at 8:00 p.m. est
Sunday, April 20 at 10:00 p.m. est

Courtesy of BET, Celebration of Gospel and Nielsen

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