When news of A.J. and Free’s return for a 106 and Park reboot, titled 106 and Park After Dark, hit the web, support from fans of the original show poured in.
Many regard the duo, who hosted the video countdown show on BET for five years in the early 2000s, as the network’s premiere hosting team. They even made an appearance on the final episode of the show they put on the map in 2014.
A.J. Calloway and Marie “Free” Wright were the first hosts of the show from September 11, 2000, until July 28, 2005, when Calloway announced that it would be his last show, as well as for Free (who spoke via phone), as the show was either presented by Calloway or Wright.
106 & Park is a countdown-style American hip-hop and R&B music video show that airs weekdays at 6 pm ET/5 pm CT on BET. It aired on BET International with a one-day delay.
The show was first produced in Harlem, New York City, and the show’s title refers to the original studio location, NEP’s Metropolis Studios, at East 106th Street and Park Avenue.
In 2001, Viacom’s acquisition of BET led to its move to the CBS Broadcast Center at 524 West 57th Street between 10th and 11th Streets in Midtown Manhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood, and the title Later in history, it became a misnomer.
It was the channel’s highest-rated program during its entire run. On November 14 (2014), it was said that BET was canceling 106 & Park and moving to an all-digital format with occasional specials during network event programming, which was last seen in any form in 2016. The BET Experience, with only a digital version, was not aired.
The Truth About 106 and Park
A.J. Calloway and Free (Marie Antoinette Wright) were featured in Vibe magazine this month with the headline “The Truth About 106 and Park” on the cover. AJ and Free finally spoke. ‘I’m thinking, ‘Well, that should be good.’ We can finally fix this whole debacle.
Let’s get straight to the point. Vibe: “106 and Park officials say the main reason you two left the show was because you felt you were underpaid by BET. Is that true?” Free: “It was time for Free to go home, so I left.” It has been a great show for five years. Work is work.
If you work for a company and the company has a plan to ensure the survival of the business, the company will do what it has to do. I’ve never had a problem with BET and checks. I never have. We had great leaders there, but we weren’t afraid to do something different.
Got it? But they don’t seem to get to the bottom of the story. That line was… “I went home because it was Free’s time” The shitty smell was piled on to cover up the smell of shit.
We all remember AJ’s final show at 106 and Park with tears in his eyes and Free joining the audience on the other end of his cell phone.
If she had decided to move on to other things in a completely amicable way, as she is trying to suggest, she and AJ would have played that big farewell show in the studio with a thousand guests. It would have been nice.
Why Did Free and AJ Leave 106?
Guess what? A.J. Calloway and Free, that were like the cool hosts of the TV show “106 and Park,” made up their minds to leave all of a sudden. This was a really big surprise to their fans because they started a very fun show on a TV channel that is owned by Viacom. That was probably even more surprising!
We do not know all the details about why she suddenly left her job, but some people think that she might have had some disagreements with her bosses lately. The people from BET, that’s the place where she worked, have not said anything about it yet.
At the live show, AJ tearfully told the audience: “I got really emotional…There is nothing like 106 & Park. It has been a staple of the African American community for so long.” It has been a good five years, so I hope it continues regardless of who takes the reins, without me or Free.”
The show began in 2000 when BET moved most of its entertainment shows to Harlem. At that time, “106 & Park” was located on the street corner of the same name in Harlem. In March (2002), the company moved its headquarters to Viacom’s CBS Broadcast Center in Manhattan.
When Did 106 & Park End?
On September 27, 2013, Canadian rapper Drake officially announced that Bow Wow would be joined by fellow Canadian Keshia Shante as its official new co-host, starting October 1 (2013). On November 14 (2014), BET canceled his 106 & Park. The last episode of the series was aired for viewers on December 19 (2014).
OK, this is the reality. There is actually a new iteration coming out called “106 & Park After Dark.” According to Vibe, the details have not yet been decided, but the bottom line is that AJ and Free will be home on BET every day. There are currently no plans for a BET-produced reunion.
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