Joel Osteen developing reality show with 'Survivor' producer
Joel Osteen is developing a reality show that will feature members of his Houston, Texas, megachurch.
November 30th, 2011
10:57 AM ET

Joel Osteen developing reality show with 'Survivor' producer

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) - Joel Osteen, who leads the largest church in the United States and reaches millions of Americans through his televised Sunday sermons, is developing a reality show with the producer of “Survivor,” the televangelist said Tuesday.

Osteen has signed a deal with famed reality TV producer Mark Burnett to develop the show, a spokeswoman for Joel Osteen Ministries said.

"Victoria (Osteen's wife) and I are looking forward to working with Mark Burnett on this project,” Osteen said in a statement Tuesday.

“We have great respect for Mark and we know that the finished product will not only entertain but will illustrate the generosity and selflessness that is a hallmark of the American people," he said.

Osteen said the yet-to-be-named series would not resemble a typical reality show.

“In my mind, when I think of ‘reality’ (show), I think of cameras following you doing nothing,” Osteen said, according to CNN Houston affiliate KHOU. “But this is more ‘Extreme (Makeover: Home Edition).’ We’re going with a purpose - with a mission.”

Osteen said the show would feature members of his Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas - the country’s largest congregation - helping others.

“We would take a group of 300-500 people from this auditorium, from our ministry and go somewhere in the world - probably in the U.S. to start - but just to help a place in need,” Osteen said, according to KHOU. “A place hit by a tornado. Maybe a run-down neighborhood.”

The show is in early stages of development and hasn’t yet been picked up by a network, said Andrea Davis, a spokeswoman for Joel Osteen Ministries.

“(Osteen) had been approached for a number of years by different networks with ideas along the same kind of lines but it just didn’t come together,” she said.

Joel and Victoria Osteen befriended Burnett and his wife, Roma Downey, about a year ago, Davis said. The Burnetts have visited Lakewood to worship and the Osteens have visited Burnett and Downey in Los Angeles.

“But their friendship developed and it seemed to really gel - the idea that Mark had and what was on Joel’s heart,” Davis said. “(Osteen) had a desire to do something like this ... that’s reflective of Joel’s core message of hope and inspiration.”

Osteen’s 16,000-seat church is located in the former Compaq Center in Houston.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Christianity • Leaders • TV

soundoff (818 Responses)
  1. jeffision

    Because he needs more money.

    September 25, 2012 at 9:57 pm |
  2. Usman Akhtar


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    February 18, 2012 at 9:59 pm |
  3. JEN


    December 19, 2011 at 4:13 pm |
  4. ChrisNJesus

    Making a TV show costs money, money that could go and help hundreds and thousands of people world wide. But instead they rather spend their money to entertain people. Grant it, by watching this show, someone might come to know christ, but with this show, Joel Osteen and his church are becoming more like the world. Being based on entertainment, glorifying themselves and others. Not christ. Christ calls us to be humble and to serve others, how in the world is this show exemplifying that. its not. Christ was a lowly man that never tried to make a name for himself but chose to lead by example, not sit in the city square yelling it as people walked by.

    December 8, 2011 at 11:27 pm |
    • Scott

      And who are you to judge what he does? I love Joel Osteen. The Bible says to not judge, it also says not to gossip! By giving your opinion like this you are clearly judging and gossiping about what you dont like. Rather you should pray for the "man" that God open his eyes and let him know if what he is doing is wrong!

      December 11, 2011 at 12:01 am |
  5. Drewry

    this will be quite interesting to see how the show turns out. Hope for the best 🙂


    December 5, 2011 at 1:15 pm |
  6. northern light

    "Joel Osteen, who leads the largest church in the United States and reaches millions of Americans through his televised Sunday sermons, is developing a .................reality show"

    Seems somewhat of an oxymoron for a man who purports to believe in and have communication with an invisible deity would have anything to do with a............ reality show.

    On the the hand maybe it could be that due to his ...lack of reality ....that he is perfectly suited to this project.

    December 4, 2011 at 9:17 pm |
  7. Faith Hope Love

    "You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven" – Matthew 5:14-16. Lakewood has awesome volunteers (like so many other great churches) that serve to give hope, inspire faith, and show the love of God. My prayer is that this reality show will illustrate how God loves people through people. God bless you.

    December 4, 2011 at 7:23 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.