BET Networks Announces the Return of All Inspiring Gospel Competition Series, "Sunday Best," for Its Ninth Season
Music Icon Kirk Franklin Returns as Host & Mentor, along with Erica Campbell, Kelly Price, and Jonathan McReynolds as Judges
"Sunday Best" Premieres Sunday, June 30th on BET in the US and Internationally Beginning Sunday, July 7th
NEW YORK -- After a four-year hiatus, America's most inspirational singing competition, "Sunday Best," makes its triumphant return to BET, as a new and improved Season 9 takes over Sunday nights beginning in June. The well-established gospel show welcomes back Grammy Award(R)-winning music legend Kirk Franklin as host, gospel songstress and host of "Get Up Mornings," Erica Campbell as a judge; and adds two Grammy-Award(R) nominated artists Kelly Price and Jonathan McReynolds as new additions to the panel. With a brand new stage and exciting themed challenges, this season will be the toughest one yet.
The new season kicks off with in-person auditions in front of the judges as they narrow the field from 20 to the top 10. For the first time the contestants were able to use an online submissions process, after which the team lead a global search for this year's contestants, leading up to the much-anticipated live auditions in Dallas, TX, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, GA, and Detroit, MI, Lagos, Nigeria and for the first time-ever London, England and Johannesburg, South Africa, which were open to select international contestants.
Jesse Collins, CEO of Jesse Collins Entertainment (BET Awards, The New Edition Story), will serve as executive producer of season nine of Sunday Best along with showrunner Josh Greenberg (The Sing-Off, Lip Sync Battle). Dionne Harmon (The Bobby Brown Story, Hip Hop Squares) and Jeannae Rouzan-Clay (Dear Mama, Black Girls Rock!) and are co-executive producers.
Meet the Host & Judges:
Kirk Franklin (Host)
Since making his debut in the early 90s, Kirk Franklin has established himself as a trailblazer and icon in contemporary music. He first burst onto the world stage with Kirk Franklin & The Family, forever changing the look and sound of gospel music. Since then, Franklin has sold over 10 million albums worldwide and written and produced timeless, genre-bending music for himself and other artists earning numerous awards and accolades, including fourteen GRAMMY's and forty-three Stellar Awards. With a career spanning over 25 years, he continues to break new ground and make indelible contributions to popular music. Franklin will release his 13th studio album, LONG LIVE LOVE, on May 31st.
Erica Campbell (Judge)
A 5x Grammy Award winner who has released two solo albums as well as seven albums with her sister as part of the dynamic duo "Mary Mary." Campbell has received numerous awards and accolades. Her debut solo album "Help" topped the charts for several weeks and won the 2015 Grammy Award for Best Gospel Album as well as earned 8 Stellar Awards. Campbell recently released her first duet "All Of My Life," with music-producer husband Warryn Campbell. Erica continues to elevate as a multi-media star and is the host of the highly-rated nationally syndicated radio show "Get Up! Mornings with Erica Campbell" that can be heard weekdays 6am-10am ET in over 40 markets.
Kelly Price (Judge)
Kelly Price has forged her own career path in music, when she first earned the reputation as one of the industry's most sought-after songwriters, before becoming a 9-time Grammy-nominated artist in her own right. Her first two albums, Soul of a Woman and Mirror Mirror both went platinum and launched Price to R&B prominence. Proving versatile off the stage, Price has now pivoted to television, and stars as a series regular in BET's hit series American Soul, recently picked up for season 2. The project brought Price's career full circle as "Soul Train" was the first national broadcast appearance of her career, and her first industry award when she took home the Soul Train Awards trophy for Best New Artist.
Jonathan McReynolds (Judge)
A Dove Award-winning, 3-time GRAMMY(R) nominee, 8-time Stellar Award winning, NAACP Image Award nominee and Billboard Music Award nominated gospel singer-songwriter based in Chicago, IL. At just 29, Jonathan has released three full length studio albums and one EP, holds a Masters in Theology from Moody Theological Seminary and is currently an adjunct member of the Columbia College faculty on top of his work as an official contributor to Huffington Post. He is also the founder of Elihu Nation, a nonprofit organization that promotes wisdom and recently awarded $30k in scholarships. He was recently named a new member of Mensa, an international high IQ society, as well. His music has been cheered on by music icons from Stevie Wonder, Nicki Minaj, and Tori Kelly to gospel giants like CeCe Winans, Yolanda Adams, and Kirk Franklin, who dubbed McReynolds "the future of gospel music." McReynolds also serves as an ambassador for Martin Guitars.
For updates and more information about "SUNDAY BEST", please visit BET.com/SundayBest. Join the conversation on social media by logging on to our social media platforms using the hashtag: #BETSundayBest.
ABOUT BET NETWORKS
BET Networks, a subsidiary of Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ:VIA, VIA.B), is the nation's leading provider of quality entertainment, music, news and public affairs television programming for the African-American audience. The primary BET channel reaches more than 90 million households and can be seen in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, the United Kingdom and sub-Saharan Africa. BET is the dominant African-American consumer brand with a diverse group of business extensions: BET.com, a leading Internet destination for Black entertainment, music, culture, and news; BET HER, a 24-hour entertainment network targeting the African-American Woman; BET Music Networks - BET Jams, BET Soul and BET Gospel; BET Home Entertainment; BET Live, BET's growing festival business; BET Mobile, which provides ringtones, games and video content for wireless devices; and BET International, which operates BET around the globe.
ABOUT JESSE COLLINS ENTERTAINMENT
Jesse Collins Entertainment (JCE) is a full service television and film production company founded by entertainment industry veteran Jesse Collins. For more than a decade, Collins has played an integral role in producing some of television's most memorable moments in music entertainment. Collins has produced groundbreaking and award winning television programming including the BET Awards, the Grammy Awards, Soul Train Awards, BET Honors, UNCF An Evening of Stars, ABFF Awards and the BET Hip Hop Awards. Collins was an executive producer of the hit TV series, Real Husbands of Hollywood starring Kevin Hart, the critically-acclaimed The New Edition Story, a biopic on the boy band that aired as a 3-part mini-series on BET in January 2017, posted record ratings for the network and attracted nearly 30 million viewers. He is also the executive producer of VH1 shows Dear Mama and Hip Hop Squares with Ice Cube. He has appeared on the cover of Vibe magazine and has been featured in numerous publications including Billboard and Ebony magazine. Most recently JCE executive produced The Bobby Brown Story. The mini-series picked up where The New Edition Story mini-series left off and chronicled the talented but troubled singer's exit from the popular '80s boy band through his solo success. It debuted on BET in September 2018 ad was the highest rated non-tentpole program on the network since The New Edition Story. Next for JCE is the second season of American Soul on BET and Netflix's upcoming series Rhythm and Flow.