Well we should have known it was only going to be a matter of time before Reality shows hit the Religious Market. It’s funny though, I thought TD Jakes would have beat Joel Osteen to the punch with a Reality Show:
By: Kate Shellnutt|Houston Chronicle
More than 10 million people watch Joel Osteen’s television broadcast each week, and soon viewers will be able to see how the pastor of America’s largest church lives outside of Lakewood.
A new reality show will follow the Osteens’ ministry as they serve and inspire people across the U.S., Lakewood confirmed.
TMZ broke the news, with details from the show’s producer, Mark Burnett:
“Survivor” producer Mark Burnett is teaming up with Joel Osteen for a primetime network show in 2012, TMZ has learned. Burnett tells TMZ, the premise of the show is that ordinary people will give up several days or longer to go on a mission with Joel Osteen, one of the most popular pastors in the world. All of the missions will be in the confines of US soil to “start fixing things.”
Over the years, “just about every studio in Hollywood” has pitched show ideas to the Osteens, but they’ve always turned them down, until now, said Don Iloff, Lakewood spokesman.
The Osteens have been friends with Burnett and his wife Roma Downey, who are Christians and have visited Lakewood in the past, and they trust Burnett’s vision and expertise in the reality TV medium.
The program is in its early planning stages and has not secured a network to air it or even a name yet. The Osteen ministry team hopes it provides uplifting, positive programming that will bring families together to watch.
“When you talk reality TV, on one end there’s Extreme Home Makeover, and on the other end, there’s Jersey Shore. We’re on the Home Makeover end,” Iloff said.
Each episode will center around “people helping people,” following service projects, such as the ones the Osteens have organized in Washington D.C. through a program called Generation Hope.
“We do these projects without the cameras rolling,” said Iloff. “But Jesus said, ‘Let your light shine. Don’t hide it under a bushel.”
Osteen recently appeared on Dr. Oz and network TV superstar Oprah visited his congregation earlier this month.
Within the realm of reality TV, viewers are also getting a dose of religion, with TLC programs like All-American Muslim, Sister Wives and 19 Kids and Counting all focusing on a faith and family angle.
From Hollywood’s perspective, it’s not necessarily about the content, but the marketability and profitability of such programs, said Richard Flory, an expert in American Christianity at the Center for Religion and Civic Culture at the University of Southern California.
“It’s a different twist on this kind of short-term mission trip evangelicals have done for a long time,” said Flory of the proposed Osteen show. “It turns it into an entertainment model, where you feel good watching it, people feel good doing it and Joel Osteen gets exposure.”