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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. Jesus is coming back.

    Churches run on money supplied by the congregation. Do you feel that every s tore is a con man because you have to pay money to get what they are offering? Would you expect Joel Osteen to have to pay for everything he does out of his own pocket? Churches have bills and are straight forward about needing the money to keep things up and running to spread the word of God. I like how the simple minded simply brush it off as "This guy is a greedy con man" Wake up nothing works without money try not paying your electric bill so we don't have to read you're stupidly...

    November 30, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
    • *frank*

      *your

      November 30, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
    • Joel makes me ill

      Right. And while he's touting the "generosity and selflessness" of others, is he donating any of his millions of dollars (or even the money he's making on this show) to charity or good works? Heck no, he's got a multimillion dollar mansion and scores of servants he has to pay. This guy is a charlatan, pure and simple. He teaches the exact OPPOSITE of what the Bible says, but people flock to him because his version makes them feel better about themselves.

      November 30, 2011 at 6:33 pm |
    • Ken Gary

      Have you read the Bible..... Try it then comment....

      November 30, 2011 at 6:42 pm |
  2. Inner_peace4all

    I love Joel Osteen's Message/sermons. Its not the typical Roman Catholic sermon that God is a punishing God and we're all burning in hell for our sins. He's very uplifting and just wants to remind us that God loves us. Joel Osteen is a wonderful man just spreading the love of God. He's also not pleading for money or else we'll all burn in hell. if you watched his sermons would see he is different. And if he's making a good living from spreading the word, who are we to judge? The show sounds like just what this country needs. Something POSITIVE. I am so sick of reality shows that focus on no name celebrities and their lame lives. This program would show how one person, or in this case a couple of hundred can truly make a positive change the world, helping others, renewing hope in someones life. How can that be wrong?

    November 30, 2011 at 6:19 pm |
  3. JJ

    WOW!! Unbelieveably angry/hateful comments on here...always. I wonder if you'd really say such in person. Immense disdain for Christians living in the land of Christian heritage. Is it any wonder our country is rotting from the inside out? Christians are only imperfect humans first-trying by the grace of God to live the way Jesus taught. We fail over & over, but shouldn't be so hated for our beliefs. I see where the anger lies however, when "Christians" tout their faith & act the opposite.

    November 30, 2011 at 6:19 pm |
    • Tony

      "living in the land of Christian heritage."

      No we're not, it's why this country was founded on separation of church and state. I don't want this to be ONLY a christian nation, they are to full of prejudice and hate.

      November 30, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
    • ??

      Where is the land of Christian heritage?

      November 30, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
    • Jones

      It's not the "land of Christian heritage." The country has a foundation of religious freedom. That's all encompassing, dude. And no, your forefathers were not Christians like you think they were.

      November 30, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  4. Pmile

    Awesome! What a great way to shine the light and expose Jesus, His message, His people, His church other than through TV? This is massive evangelism, at its best! I am happy to see that Pastor Joel uses his gift of encouragemeent beyond the four walls of teh church–where the lost souls abide.

    November 30, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
    • craig

      please read matthew 6:1-4 This is Jesus saying how we are to be when giving to the poor and needy. In secret, not before men, let alone the reality TV.

      November 30, 2011 at 7:08 pm |
  5. iBernard

    I don't know when, but in my lifetime, I absolutely KNOW some MAJOR MAJOR MAJOR scandal is going to come out of the car wreck which is Joel Osteen. He can't even get near the topic of gay people without saying nothing further than "they are people too" and all the other goofy remarks (or ignoring the remarks, and having his WIFE speak for him...) I heard on several Larry King Live interviews. He's filthy rich, polished to within a micron of a mirror, and probably sleeps in a bed lined with hundred dollar bills. I don't get him, and I don't trust him. But I'm going to be first in line laughing when his dirty secret comes out. And it will...

    November 30, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
    • Lily

      I dunno... the very fact he doesn't spout a lot of hate toward gay people does take him out of the 'methinks the man doth protest too much' territory most religious leaders who've later been caught propositioning other men fell into. If anything, what he's probably struggling with is what to follow. Traditional doctrine says it's wrong, but (I hope) he knows gay people who love their partners, love God, and try try to do good in the world.

      December 1, 2011 at 10:44 am |
  6. David

    This man is NOT of Christ

    November 30, 2011 at 6:14 pm |
    • Hasa Diga Eebowai

      Neither are the vast majority of christians.

      November 30, 2011 at 6:16 pm |
  7. David Parker

    This man is not of Christ.

    November 30, 2011 at 6:12 pm |
  8. Morgan

    This surprises me not at all. Osteen is a shallow creature with a love for the spotlight (but without the family flair). I predict this'll either fall through or end up in syndication on some Christian network.

    November 30, 2011 at 6:11 pm |
  9. Guitar

    A Prototypical Scammer of the Ultimate Kind! Makes $75Million a year. Does anyone really think Jesus would act this way if he were alive today? Jesus taught humility, taking care of the poor, while keeping nothing for himself, abhorred materialism. Anyone who would give this guy one dollar is simple naive and gullible! No one needs to send their
    money to anyone, anywhere else to get through to 'God'! Pitiful!!!

    November 30, 2011 at 6:11 pm |
  10. Johnson

    There is a permanent smile one could never trust. I assume it is because he makes regular trips to the Swiss Bank.

    November 30, 2011 at 6:06 pm |
  11. Copied from Not Mr. Hand

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    November 30, 2011 at 6:05 pm |
    • sam

      LOL
      Classic Picard facepalm.

      November 30, 2011 at 6:07 pm |
  12. Kyley

    I am a Christian who beleives the Bible. That said... Joel Osteen's messages tend to be shallow and repepetive and talks about a few shreds of teaching in the bible and leaving a lot of it out. There's usually nothing wrong with his messages per se.. Like there's nothing wrong with eating an occasional candy bar. It's food, but if you keep eating a candy bar for breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day, your teeth will rot and you will become very malnourished. I have been to his church before. I likened it to walking into somebody's house for dinner, expecting a steak dinner, and walking out hungry because all they served was a salad. It felt more like a pep rally than a worship service. I don't wrong anyone who goes there, but encourage you to dig into God's word on your own, and explore other teachers who give a more wholistic view of the Bible. One of my favorites is Lloyd Pulley of CCOB in new jersey. He goes through the bible verse-by-verse.. so we are not just picking and choosing what we want to hear. He has message available online if you search for him. (No i'm not affiliated with him or what that church... I just like how he looks at the bible as a whole)

    November 30, 2011 at 6:04 pm |
  13. Griever

    Fortunately, the valve has persisted (stayed in place) and there is no leakage. Why is this important? Well, think about it and then assume a kind of trapazoidal arrangement of fur, OK?

    November 30, 2011 at 6:03 pm |
  14. Rambo

    He's a bright business man who leads a church of r3tards. He just realized that he can get to more r3tards on national TV. Good for him!

    November 30, 2011 at 6:01 pm |
    • Hasa Diga Eebowai

      Exactly!

      November 30, 2011 at 6:02 pm |
    • JimiJoni

      You failed to mention these retards have $$$

      November 30, 2011 at 6:09 pm |
  15. Joe

    People helping people is a good foundation for a show

    November 30, 2011 at 6:01 pm |
  16. Michael

    What a con man....can you believe fools gives this guy money?

    November 30, 2011 at 6:00 pm |
    • Hasa Diga Eebowai

      Do you live in America?

      November 30, 2011 at 6:02 pm |
    • Timbo

      You are a complete idiot. Every pastor is not a con man. His church has missionaries around the world and he has donated millions of money from his BOOKS to help people around the world. What has YOU done to help anyone but yourself?

      November 30, 2011 at 6:08 pm |
    • sam

      @Timbo – no, not every pastor is a con man. But this one is. Dumba$$.

      November 30, 2011 at 6:09 pm |
    • Steve

      Well said sam...

      November 30, 2011 at 6:16 pm |
  17. steve N JXN

    Probably Osteen's first brush with reality if so...

    November 30, 2011 at 5:57 pm |
  18. vengence is mine

    I would like to slap that smile right off of his face. What a con man

    November 30, 2011 at 5:57 pm |
    • Castiel

      Someone should beat him until candy comes out.

      November 30, 2011 at 6:08 pm |
  19. MichMan41

    Oh good Lord...no pun intended. I would rather pass a watermelon than watch that crap.

    November 30, 2011 at 5:53 pm |
  20. zulu

    I rather change my s ex to female and give birth to cactus tree than watch that

    November 30, 2011 at 5:44 pm |
    • Alfonzo Muchanzo

      Me thinks you are fond of the hyperbole.

      November 30, 2011 at 5:53 pm |
    • Snoot Pelt

      No kidding. This slippery turkey will suck the life blood out of millions of lost souls lacking the IQ to recognize the species of bird.

      November 30, 2011 at 6:01 pm |
    • Timbo

      You atheists sure make a lot of jokes for a species heading straight to H E L L. Better get your laughs in now.

      November 30, 2011 at 6:09 pm |
    • Kevin

      Timbo, look in the mirror if you think a hate-filled bag of sick like yourself would have a chance if your heaven was real.

      November 30, 2011 at 6:16 pm |
    • sam

      Watch out, everybody. Timbo just pulled the double hockey sticks card. Sh!t just got real.

      November 30, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
    • iBernard

      Quite humorous!

      November 30, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
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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.