BET has just announced that it will end 106 & Park, its long-running video countdown show, on December 19. The show will become "digital only," says a release by BET president Stephen Hill, but that "I'm not trying to minimize it; this is a very big change."
This is sad, theoretically, because it has become an institution since it first debuted 14 years ago; I can't think of the show's name without hearing Twista rap the line "Kicking it on the couch, at 106 & Park" in my head. (SIDEBAR: MIRI BEN-ARI, "HIP HOP VIOLINIST" HAHA.) Still, it never quite seemed to fully adapt to the way the internet changed the culture so quickly. (Remember Terrence J and Rocsi reading tweets off a screen in real time? Yikes.) It is also a reminder that if the viewership was dwindling, it had as much to do with the fact that the hosts have been progressively worse since the beginning as it does with the way the internet changed America's viewing habits. This downward host trend started from when beloved founding hosts AJ Calloway and Marie "Free" Wright left in 2005, which caused a ripple of drama—AJ cried on-air while announcing their departure—and cast doubt on the show's footing. (There were rumors at the time that the hosts left because they didn't feel their salaries were commensurate with the show's rampant popularity, and in a 2006 interview in Vibe, AJ admits that he worked there for two years with no contract, which is bananas.) Any sadness I felt at the announcement of 106's cancellation was immediately tempered by remembering how current host Bow Wow made me nostalgic for Rocsi, and you know, something's not right here.
Here are the 106 & Park hosts, ranked.
5. Big Tigger
6. Miss Mykie
7. Keshia Chanté
8. Angela Simmons
10. Shorty da Prince
11. Terrence J
12. Bow Wow
As rankings go, I don't even mean any of this to be a dis, except to Terrence J and Bow Wow, and not even really to Bow Wow because he has some jams, it's just that you should never have a musician host a show where he's interviewing musicians that are more successful than he is, it raises complications. But regular viewers will notice something: this ranking is almost directly commensurate to the era in which said host hosted, with the exception of Terrence J, who hosted from 2006 to 2012, and whose speaking voice just kind of annoyed me, also the time he did this:
In general, the overall quality and draw just slipped, so maybe now that 106 will be a web-only affair it will feel less pressure to entertain the sometimes bored-looking teen fans that comprise its audience and just relax, which is often what I want to tell Bow Wow to do when I am watching it. (Keshia Chanté is a vision, really, but moreso in contrast to Bow Wow she makes him seem tense.) Over at Rap Radar, here's how some fans were mourning:
RIP, 106 on TV.
Image via Getty