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. Monchie

    The problem with this is that Jesus tells us in the book of Matthew chapter 6 the following, " “Watch out! Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others, for you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven. 2 When you give to someone in need, don’t do as the hypocrites do—blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity! I tell you the truth, they have received all the reward they will ever get. 3 But when you give to someone in need, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. 4 Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you." This is the Word of God, if He believes in following the Word, then doing this show would not even be an option!!!!! He would run away from this type of public display!!!!

    November 30, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
    • JA

      Well Said

      November 30, 2011 at 12:56 pm |
    • Mikey

      Oh he will just claim he is trying to inspire others to do good works. What a crock.

      November 30, 2011 at 2:38 pm |
    • elusional concepts and dogma.Jesus

      Reality and Joel Osteen!!! Joel made his fortune on the back of DELUSIONAL concepts and 1st century dogma. This is departure from his business plan....unless of course reality shows are not real, but simply UNSCRIPTED (most are!).

      November 30, 2011 at 3:33 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Joel probably skips over this scripture ...

      "...know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God."

      James 4:4


      November 30, 2011 at 3:51 pm |
  2. Sarah

    It is great to get a congregation to perform charity work. Now, for this to be true charity the congregation and Joel need to forgo any offers of payment from the show. What are the odds of that happening?

    November 30, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
  3. mishion

    What? Joel I do not think this a good idea.

    November 30, 2011 at 12:49 pm |
    • Monchie

      See my most current post and you will know why this is not a good idea, nor is this a "God" lead idea!!!

      November 30, 2011 at 1:04 pm |
    • candy23

      no no no this is not a good idea

      November 30, 2011 at 1:50 pm |
    • Jesus

      A good idea would be for Joel to hold hands with Victoria and jump off the Bay Bridge in Frisco. Two less religion hucksters to take money from the fearful and ignorant.

      November 30, 2011 at 3:35 pm |
  4. Carolyn from SoCal

    Having watched some of the reality shows, I have wondered from which planet the principals were recruited.. They certainly don't reflect the majority of us out here who believe in kindness and generosity of spirit. Perhaps this one will. I certainly hope so because the TV offerings are completely out of balance....and the children are being educated while no one is paying attention.

    November 30, 2011 at 12:41 pm |
  5. Mark

    Joel neted about $43 million/per year...In the bible, Jesus tell us all to alway give to the poor. Did Joel just miss this...don't think so!
    Give your money to he poor and needy NOT Joel and his ministry!!!

    November 30, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
    • Hannah007

      I think victoria scratched ripped that part out of the bible..that ladys face reads hunger for money

      November 30, 2011 at 12:44 pm |
    • Wayne

      If Joel and Victoria neted $43 million per year then it must be from the books the both of them have written because the both of them have stated on Larry King Show that they ' DO NOT ACCEPT ANY SALARY FROM THE CHURCH ' what so ever . They live off the sell of the books they have written . $43 million seems far fetch even for that .

      November 30, 2011 at 1:48 pm |
    • Jesus

      For ALL religion hucksters, it's all about the benjamins! Those who live a life of poverty and are in the religion biz are either not skilled at fleecing the sheep or just nice people. There are much more of the former than the latter.,

      November 30, 2011 at 4:10 pm |
    • larlarme

      yes, the money he makes is from his books, videos, etc. billy graham ministries give them away. joel sells them at a very high price

      November 30, 2011 at 10:20 pm |
  6. Steve

    I hope they reopen Heritage USA in Guyana. Was looking for a vacation spot for 2012. Went on a cruise and much prefer to fly in somewhere. Boats are boring.

    November 30, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
    • Jesus

      How about opening a Heritage USA in Somalia or Sudan? Cull the herd!

      December 1, 2011 at 12:26 am |
  7. Donna Y

    there is nothing wrong with being financially successful and Christain. He is showing us by example of what we can become. I am sure he gives away plenty.

    November 30, 2011 at 12:14 pm |
    • Hannah007

      Of what we can become? You mean use Gods name to get the things wewant? very noble, im sure there is a very special place for him in the afterlife. these type of idiots sicken me but who sicken me ever more are the morons that listen and attend this crap.

      November 30, 2011 at 12:42 pm |
    • Andy Anderson

      Maybe instead of listening to Joel Osteen you should be listening to what your god had to say about being financially successful:

      Matthew 19:20-24, KJV:
      "The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?
      Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.
      But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.
      Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.
      And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God."

      November 30, 2011 at 12:43 pm |
    • TheTruthFairy

      Being a successful Christian and getting rich off Christianity are two VERY different things. The first one is A-OK, while the second one is downright disgusting.

      November 30, 2011 at 12:45 pm |
    • Kevin V

      It be nice if Joel used his enormous congregation, fortune, and influence to do projects like this in humilty, without the cameras and press releases.... you know... like Jesus.

      November 30, 2011 at 12:58 pm |
    • Kerry

      Considering I live in Houston and actutally remember the church his father started years ago in South Houston, this truly angers me. If this WERE NOT about money, this article would state that Joel and Victoria were giving 100% of their profits from this escapade to the people they intend to help. This man preaches about money, prosperity, and riches; when in fact, the Savior he claims to believe in was poor. Jesus didn't have a multi-million dollar church with 16,000+ followers. He didn't live in a lavish mansion. He didn't have 1/8 of the wealth Joel Olstean has. Joel is a fraud. I see little to no difference between Joel Oslead and L. Ron Hubbard, who founded the church of Scientology for the tax break and to make money. Joel just happened to meet and friend Mark Burnett? It just happened? Doubt it. Joel searched him out for "prosperities" sake. I hope he enjoys his 30 pieces of silver.

      November 30, 2011 at 2:48 pm |
    • larlarme

      i'm sure he doesn't give away anything, except a lot of talk. he sells everything else

      November 30, 2011 at 10:22 pm |
  8. cantsee

    One has to go where the money and opportunity is, and Joel Osteen has done just that!

    November 30, 2011 at 12:06 pm |
  9. petena

    Joel is a realy show already. He is worth millions. Why doesn't he pour some of his wealth in helping people if he so believes in what he preaches. His wife is so fake too.

    November 30, 2011 at 11:48 am |
  10. Marj

    I just lost all respect for Joel Olsteen. If this reality show is for free than fine, if he is getting paid, just another preacher
    looking to have more power and make more money. Stop using the name of GOD for your own benefit. Enough already
    GOD don't like ugly.

    November 30, 2011 at 11:47 am |
    • Hannah007

      You just NOW lost respect??

      November 30, 2011 at 12:39 pm |
  11. Jewelgirl12

    I think the proof will be in the show and what it accomplishes. As far as Joel, he does not accept a salary from Lakewood Church. I am not a member, I go to Felllowship of the Woodlands, but I have visited. I have met Joel and he prayed with me for my Mother, and yes, you guessed it...she was healed. There are some nut cases out there that give Christianity a bad name but Joel is not one of them. I hope & pray that the show is a great success. A "Big Church" can make a "Big" difference.

    November 30, 2011 at 11:42 am |
    • Onoyoudont

      A "big church" usually becomes that way because of a so-called charismatic leader and that's where the problems begin. Well-intentioned people, over time, place their faith in the leader and human nature being what it is, bad things happen. I'm not sure that religion/faith communities benefit from "charismatic" leaders.

      November 30, 2011 at 11:50 am |
    • Andy Anderson

      From the UNICEF website:
      "About 29,000 children under the age of five – 21 each minute – die every day, mainly from preventable causes."

      So you believe the creator of life, the universe, and everything placed more importance on Joel Osteen asking him for a favor in healing your mother than keeping 29,000 children from dying?

      You might want to look up the definition of the word 'hubris'. If your god is actually real, then he's a monster for letting this happen.

      November 30, 2011 at 12:47 pm |
    • Get Real

      Jewelgirl – "I have met Joel and he prayed with me for my Mother, and yes, you guessed it...she was healed."

      Plenty of people recover from illnesses without being prayed for... and many who are prayed for do not recover. There is no verified evidence that prayer does *anything* except give the person praying a good feeling.

      November 30, 2011 at 1:25 pm |
    • cheri

      I totally agree..I am a member of Lakewood and LOVE the church, Joel and his wife. I don't understand why people can't stop being jealous of others for a moment and see the lives that church has changed, mine included. And by the way for those who believe there is a coffee shop in the church THERE IS NOT!!! and if there was then that would be great!! And also, one last question, Tell me ONE church that does not ask for money??? My point it made!!!

      November 30, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
    • Wayne

      Jewelgirl12 , I agree with you. I have no doubt the money the show brings in will be used to help others in need .

      November 30, 2011 at 2:03 pm |
    • Get Real

      " I have no doubt the money the show brings in will be used to help others in need."

      You sound like the type who responds to those emails from former Nigerian princes, asking for help in recovering their trunks of gold.

      November 30, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
    • NOTW

      Money is not the issue with Joel, the issue is he is supposed to be a Pastor/Teacher. He does not teach the whole counsel of the Bible and specifically he does not preach Christ crucified or the reality of hell. He's very inspiring but if he is leading thousands of people and not giving them sound doctrine, he could be responsible for thousands of "good hearted and inspired" people to go to hell.

      November 30, 2011 at 3:37 pm |
  12. Tom Jones

    Oh yeah! That's a face I'd trust. Someone with a suit and s*(t eating grin like that rolled up to me, I'd be wondering whether to shoot him or run away!

    This guy should run for President (his cabinet will gloss over the church and state issue later).

    Creepy about sums it up.

    November 30, 2011 at 11:41 am |
    • Jesus

      The guy was raised by an unsuccessful religion huckster. He is outdoing Dad on fleecing the flock.

      November 30, 2011 at 4:13 pm |
  13. Dave

    We've been doing the same thing at Ginghamsburg Church just north of Dayton Ohio for years. We just finished sending our 70th team to the New Orleans area to rebuild and remodel houses destroyed in Hurricane Katrina. We're a lot smaller than Lakewood...about 4,500 attendees...but in New Orleans alone, we've sent about 1,100 people since 2005. We've got teams going to Costa Rica, medical mission trips to Haiti, Jamaica, and Colombia, and have raised $5 million in the past seven years to build clean water yard facilities, new schools and provided seed, grains and tool to help the Sudanese get back on their feet. We're in the process of raising another $500,000 this month (over and above our regular giving) for the Sudan Project. Another $500,000 is being raised to help revitalize a declining neighborhood in the inner city of Dayton...plus we plan to start building 25 new infill houses in the same neighborhood.

    Perhaps Joel and his crew will come to Dayton...or perhaps they will go to New Orleans where 50,000 people STILL need help rebuilding and getting back on their feet. The crisis there is far from over....if you want to help, go to http://www.epworthproject.com and get involved.

    November 30, 2011 at 11:39 am |
  14. Onoyoudont

    Megachurch and TV preachers=pursuit of power, control, fame and money. I know, I know- they take to the airwaves, internet so they can reach more souls. No, they can reach more pockets. Hypocrites-all of them!!

    November 30, 2011 at 11:39 am |
    • cheri

      They can only take what YOU give!!

      November 30, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
    • Jesus

      True Cheri, it takes two to complete a con – the huckster with a scam and the sucker who falls for it.

      December 1, 2011 at 12:29 am |
  15. Robin Bray

    Reality? Like there is no god and churches are a farce that prey on the ignorant? That will be a breath of fresh air for once where religion is concerned.

    November 30, 2011 at 11:36 am |
  16. Comportland

    Nice suit. I imagine there is a large financial benefit of a reality show. What's the root of all evil again? Yeah...I'll listen to this guys take on Christian values. Quit following. Start thinking.

    November 30, 2011 at 11:34 am |
    • Hater Hater

      Yes, it is a nice suit. Should he wear rags? I love the people that think Christians should all live poor and not live fruitful lives. It is easier to criticize than actaully do something yourself. Why is it Christians are always the ones helping the poor, helping those affected by natural disasters, and those suffering in third world countries? The same people that criticize those trying to do good are the ones that sit there watching the aftermath of Katrina saying "that's too bad" or the "government should have done more" while they take another puff of their cig or swig of their beer and go back to their self absorbed lives of expecting everybody else to help those in need.

      November 30, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
  17. Share the Love of God!

    You go Pastor!, make a difference and share the love of God.

    You are absolutely right when when you say-
    “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.”

    November 30, 2011 at 11:16 am |
    • Matt

      I am not surprised, sharing and caring is part of the Christian DNA!

      November 30, 2011 at 11:21 am |
    • tallulah13

      Yes, because a realty show is so loving and caring.

      November 30, 2011 at 11:24 am |
    • hippypoet

      you people are funny.. sharing and caring seems to be a lost trait of you christians... now your most common trait seems to be hating on those that are different... i hope you folks find your way back to true caring...sharing is after, you share because you care. hopefully!

      November 30, 2011 at 11:25 am |
    • Matt

      Re: reality shows in general-I don't know much about you, have you watched extreme makeover? if that show did not lift your spirits then what else will?

      November 30, 2011 at 11:27 am |
    • No love for fake super-beings here.

      He is one of those people who deserve to be the target of a lynch mob. A very angry lynch mob. With pitchforks.

      November 30, 2011 at 11:28 am |
    • Matt

      Some people love this 🙂
      Some people love this 🙁
      can you learn to 🙂

      November 30, 2011 at 11:31 am |
    • Satan Himself

      How's this?


      November 30, 2011 at 12:05 pm |
    • TheTruthFairy

      If sharing and caring is part of Christian DNA, then I would suggest that that part has become dormant for most of you.

      November 30, 2011 at 1:16 pm |
  18. Mitchell S. Gilbert

    Proof of God's Existence (VIDEO!) http://wp.me/p1Jt6N-jO via @wordpressdotcom

    November 30, 2011 at 11:13 am |
    • tallulah13

      I've got to get to work, so I don't have time to watch the whole video, but it seems that your "proof" is just the standard "nature is so wonderful there must be a god" trope.

      November 30, 2011 at 11:23 am |
    • Scathingly

      Isn't it sad that there are still brain-damaged people who are convinced "intelligent design" is true? So sad and pathetic.

      November 30, 2011 at 11:30 am |
    • Osama

      the only thing pathetic is your arrogance... intelligent design just means that whatever created the universe didnt just throw a bunch of blobs of stuff and hoped for the best!

      November 30, 2011 at 11:39 am |
    • Chuckles


      I don't think there's any theory around that says a bunch of blobs got thrown together and hoped for the best.....unless you count THAT as god, but something tells me you don't...

      November 30, 2011 at 11:44 am |
    • Osama

      Chuckles. My sources tell me otherwise. Go to http://www.christianscience.org, and open your mind to the obvious reality that intelligent design is the only reasonable explanation for all the sunshine and lollipops we see around us every day.

      November 30, 2011 at 1:22 pm |
    • warmesTghosT

      "I don't understand how existence works, therefore MAGIC"

      Great proof, broseph.

      November 30, 2011 at 1:29 pm |
    • Chuckles


      You make me sad. I mean, really? Like the Ghostdude said above, just because you don't understand how it works does not in any way point to gods existance, or anything of the sort. Try again, and this time try to present an unbiased source eh?

      November 30, 2011 at 1:32 pm |
    • Primewonk

      @ Osaka, instead of using a creationist website as "proof " of intelligent design, why not post a link to a peer-reviewe scientific journal that has published the theory of ID?

      And I thought that ID claims that it isn't based on religion?

      November 30, 2011 at 2:54 pm |
    • Osama

      Who needs peer reviewes when you have the grace of God on your side. His word is truth, and that's all the proof I need.

      November 30, 2011 at 3:09 pm |
  19. tallulah13

    When Survivor was initially proposed, I thought it sounded fascinating: A group of people isolated in a hostile environment, learning to survive together. When I discovered it was simply a popularity contest with stupid challenges and backstabbing contestants, I realized it was a show about the worst in human nature and I completely lost interest.

    That Osteen wants to as.sociate himself with such a despi.cable, but popular product truly shows where his interests lie.

    November 30, 2011 at 11:11 am |
    • 25oct1917

      My wife used to work at a large church here in San Diego, that fit that popularity contest/backstabbing bit to a tee.

      November 30, 2011 at 11:38 am |
    • Jesus

      Survivor is staged. Contestants are TOLD to employ (in their own words) a particular scheme. I know! I worked in that business. It is about as real as the God delusion. As Jerry Seinfeld said recently, the rise of reality shows is directly related to the fall in decent writing and acting. Most people can run with a "concept". That's why those in the business refer to "reality" shows as UNSCRIPTED shows.

      November 30, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
  20. hippypoet

    i knew it... this guy is only about the money! what happened, did his flock of mindless sheep go away?

    November 30, 2011 at 11:01 am |
    • Scathingly

      He's the sort who goes shoplifting and ra.ping after stealing your wallet, so to speak. Diversify your swindling and fraud!

      November 30, 2011 at 11:32 am |
    • Osama

      how is he only about the money? he is an evengalical, why not spread the good news on the TV, in a style that the TV zombies may enjoy! people need to stop hating and stop being so jelous! Good work Mr.Osteen! Love your show! (PS: I am a muslim, If I was American I would vote Obama 2012, and Osama is my real name!)

      November 30, 2011 at 11:42 am |
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