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It’s no “happy little accident” the COVID-19 pandemic led to a boom in Bob Ross’ ‘The Joy of Painting’

Tubi/Bob Ross Inc.(LOS ANGELES) — Though he’s been gone 25 years, ever-calming TV presence Bob Ross and his show The Joy of Painting has seen a resurgence — particularly in the high-stress world in which we now find ourselves.

The show, famous for the painter’s calming voice and ability to whip up a masterpiece in every episode, has attracted a whole new generation of fans. Now the worldwide streaming service Tubi has picked up the public television series — and it’s more popular than ever, Joan Kowalski, CEO of Bob Ross Inc. tells ABC Audio. 

“It started about five years ago when there was an eight-day marathon on Twitch TV which brought out all the millennials, generation X, Y and Zs,” says Kowalski, whose parents discovered Ross and helped bring him to public TV in the ’80s.  “And then with the pandemic, we’ve gotten another surge with people staying at home and they remember how much they want to have Bob in their lives — and they’re painting, too!”

With COVID-19, “They are watching like crazy and they’re starting to paint because they’re it’s a thing you can do by yourself,” Kowalski says.  “And just Bob’s whole disposition, his whole personality, of course, obviously is just perfect. People are…stressed out, and they’re trying to figure out what to do all their home. And that’s just a recipe for Bob Ross right there.”

Additionally, Ross’ likeness can now be found on t-shirts, bobbleheads, and even a Funko Pop toy.

“He always sort of liked that whole concept when he was alive,” says Kowalski. “[I]t’s probably the one thing that he would really loved a lot would be like the merchandise and everything. Any collectible you want, there a Bob Ross one, too, and just it’s taking off like crazy.” 

By Stephen IervolinoCopyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.