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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. Joseph

    As an Agnostic, I really don't understand why atheists get so worked up about this guy? So what, the only people who are going to watch his show are the same people who are already watching his ministry show. The people that give him money will be the same people who are already giving him money. Who cares? Let him do his show. For the rest of us, it will just be one more channel to flip through. I don't buy what he's selling, and I kinda feel sorry for those that do, but at the same time, if it makes those people feel good about themselves, motivates them to get up and be productive members of society, then I wish him the best of luck and success in his endeavors.

    November 30, 2011 at 7:12 pm |
    • alice58

      you are either a theist agnostic or an atheist agnostic - you can't just be "agnostic"

      November 30, 2011 at 7:22 pm |
    • Joseph

      Well if you want to go into specifics, I lean toward atheist. But I keep an open mind if evidence is ever presented to the contrary.

      November 30, 2011 at 7:23 pm |
    • fred

      @Joseph
      Say it so........Joe. You must have a position on this Guy. If he is preaching the wrong Gospel he is doing wrong no matter what the outcome is for his followers. Granted if someone just hears him as one would a rock concert star no problem. If the Gospel of Chirst is true then these followers are in for a big let down when trouble hits. At least the atheist can shrug a bad roll of the dice off but if your god lets you down it is a big fall and a long time before you ever come to the true God again if ever. Fool me once shame on you fool me twice same on me.
      Oldstein has the good parts down but the Bible spends a lot of time warning of trouble and being prepared.

      November 30, 2011 at 7:34 pm |
  2. Diana

    What is wrong with watching positive things on TV where people are doing for others? How is that being greedy? It sure beats the garbage that eats up the television airways. Have you all ever listened to Joel's sermons? You should try because it is contagious! Living a positive life full of happiness and doing for others beats what goes on in the world everyday! I dare you to try it. It sure makes life worth living. God Bless

    November 30, 2011 at 7:10 pm |
    • sam

      Eh, he's a motivational speaker who knows enough of the Christian code words to get by. Sincerity? Not from that guy. Still, whatever makes you happy, I guess. Sheeple everywhere.

      November 30, 2011 at 7:16 pm |
  3. nagrom

    Do you think Sarah could give him some insights on how to do a reality show?? GOTCHA!!! Perhaps they can dance the night away with Bristol too!!! OMG And I sure do not want to get too religious here but the thought of 500 of his followers descending on a community in need is so surreal. That poor community. Just go away and let me die!!!!

    November 30, 2011 at 7:09 pm |
  4. Me

    How many kids has he molested???

    November 30, 2011 at 7:09 pm |
    • dino

      None

      November 30, 2011 at 7:21 pm |
    • tree

      me!

      November 30, 2011 at 9:25 pm |
  5. Kathie

    Joel Olsteen is nothing but snake oil. It boggles the mind that people will give atleast 10% of their hard earn dollars to this clown & his sidekick all on the premise of buying their way into heaven. A true humanitarian would take that 10% and give it to the charities that actually help people or better yet – give a homeless person a hand up, give a vet a hand up, put a smile on a child's face.

    November 30, 2011 at 6:59 pm |
  6. Mr Chihuahua

    This guy's gums are impervious to a howitzed shell lol!

    November 30, 2011 at 6:57 pm |
    • tree

      like!

      November 30, 2011 at 9:26 pm |
  7. Rob

    No. Just, no.

    November 30, 2011 at 6:57 pm |
  8. albert

    This guy is nothing more than a greedy false prophet. Not Christ-Like at all.

    November 30, 2011 at 6:53 pm |
  9. kawika

    Another so called man of God shows his true colors....the color of money. Greed Greed Greed. The sad part is is that it's not that surprising anymore. No wonder so many people are falling away in droves from organized religion. Sad, very sad.

    November 30, 2011 at 6:53 pm |
    • dino

      What is wrong with having a reality show ?

      November 30, 2011 at 7:26 pm |
  10. broomryder

    Considering the current reality shows on television I have to say I like the premise for this show. That being said, why a television show? Why can't you just take 300-500 members of your church to somewhere in the world, the US to start, and just do some good and help those in need? Why have a show and have cameras rolling? As a church, one would hope you would being doing this already, or is this really more about Osteen becoming a television star?

    November 30, 2011 at 6:45 pm |
    • dino

      They are already sending money for mission work all over the world which include building schools and clothing children. What most of you don't know is that "the church" does does not always anounce to the world what they are doing in Africa, Asia, Middle East, and South America. As someone that used to manage Church money, some of our pastors are not even on salary. But people see them and say they embezzled church money. I knew a church where members bought a Mercedes E-Class for the pastor not from the church accout. If this pastors are stealing, how come all the IRS Audit on Ministries like Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland have not found any fault till date. This guys have been under FBI radar yet nothing has been found.

      November 30, 2011 at 7:40 pm |
  11. Darwin

    We only got one chance while were here, so make it count!

    November 30, 2011 at 6:45 pm |
  12. Wade

    Hey snake, evolution as you believe it is the myth. So there were monkeys that evolved into humans? How can you say that with a straight face? Us 'people' (most of the planet by the way) as you called me believe there is a god that created all things, but you're just so much smarter than us because you "know" we came from apes? Sounds like you haven't fully evolved.

    November 30, 2011 at 6:44 pm |
    • Matt

      Wade, please tell me you are trolling and don't actually believe that. People did not evolve from monkeys but from a common ancestor. Do you not believe that the genomes of monkeys are 90-98% similar to people? Do you not believe that there are many anatomical similarities between monkeys and people? Do you not believe the fossil record which shows the chronological change of both monkeys and people? There are mountains of facts and observations that support evolution and you would rather have me believe a 2000+ year old book and some guy who looks like he swallowed a bottle of enzyte?

      November 30, 2011 at 7:00 pm |
    • sam

      Have you always been an ignorant dou.che, or did it take you years of practice?

      November 30, 2011 at 7:01 pm |
  13. tone7de

    I do not know Joel, but I know a top leader in his ministry and they are solid people whom God has blessed. I do not understand why people (Christian and non-Christian) have problems with happy Christians…why is that so offensive? If you grow up in a household where a tangible Jesus is an everyday reality for you, you will end up like Joel…it is called spiritual inheritance from his father. He is blessed!

    November 30, 2011 at 6:40 pm |
    • Morgan

      Yeah ... not buyin' what you're sellin.' The man's about as real as three dollar bill.

      November 30, 2011 at 6:47 pm |
    • Tim

      The reason we have a problem with Osteen is because he's chosen to use his faith and the faith of others for his own extreme personal gain. You can call him a good Christian all you want, but it still seems quite unchristian to construct a media empire based around faith that has, as of when I last checked, netted him $40 million dollars which he keeps to himself. If you "grow up in a household where a tangible Jesus is an everyday reality," you won't end up like Joel. You only do that when you're a shrewd, calculating businessman intent on personal gain at the expense of others.

      November 30, 2011 at 7:12 pm |
    • nagrom

      Hey watch out about those three dollar bill comparisons. One would mistake you for being a bigot. Leave that up to the happy Christians will you?? All those happy Christians are nothing but a bunch of racists and bigots. Just ask them what they think of people who don't believe in Jesus the way they believe in Jesus and the true venom will really begin to flow. Now call him a phoney and I can go along with that. Peace my friend.

      November 30, 2011 at 7:16 pm |
  14. WOZ

    Can't wait to watch the show.

    November 30, 2011 at 6:37 pm |
    • kawika

      Yeah, you and 3 other people.

      November 30, 2011 at 6:54 pm |
  15. Snake

    something about the look on that man's face makes me want to punch him right in his mouth. Repeatedly.

    November 30, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
    • Wade

      Yeah, you sound really evolved. I just wish I was as smart as you.

      November 30, 2011 at 6:48 pm |
  16. Mr Chihuahua

    Smarmy, thy name is Joel Osteen lol!

    November 30, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
  17. God

    Joel... I will smite you if you make this TV show. Quit exploiting religion for your own monetary benefit. SMITE!

    November 30, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
  18. daveinla

    I like Mr. Olsteens message of hope and insperation. He is actually more of a motivational speaker with a Christian message attached.Im not a big relious guy myself, but you critics on here should listen to one of the guys sermons, he's really good.

    November 30, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
    • Bob

      He has to be a good sales guy to stand out from the other god-fraud sellers. But he's still selling the same steaming pile as the rest of them.

      But that slicked hair and the cheesy smile, yeah, he has con artist written all over him. A young Jimmy Swaggart.

      November 30, 2011 at 6:40 pm |
    • dino

      Bob, now I know you lack understanding.

      November 30, 2011 at 7:46 pm |
  19. james

    Amazing how many people think theres some ghost in the sky watching them..or funnier "protecting them" This is it..youre here once, then its over. While youre here try not to get run over, shot, sick or whatever..nobody saves you from above.

    November 30, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
    • Wade

      Really sad that you believe that. So you really believe there was a big explosion and then whamo, a whole universe was created, with people and animals? Now that's amazing!

      November 30, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
    • Anonymous

      Hmm, well then i guess we cant wait to rid this world of your negativity. God Bless You 😉

      November 30, 2011 at 6:36 pm |
    • Snake

      No wade... an explosion didn't just create people and animals. Damnit why can't you people just accept that god did not point and click animals onto the planet like you point and click barnyard animals into farmtown.

      It EVOLVED... EVOLUTION!

      November 30, 2011 at 6:39 pm |
    • Bob

      No Wade, we simply don't believe. Belief is not part of science. You are just too stupid to get that.

      November 30, 2011 at 6:41 pm |
    • fred

      Snake, I thought God told you to go crawl away on your belly after your big deception in Garden? Guess your right, thanks to evolution you can now work a keyboard. To bad you retained that old deceptors ways. OH, by the way God spoke the heavens and earth into existence ....no point and click back then.

      November 30, 2011 at 6:50 pm |
    • dino

      Snake, it seems that you believe so much in science. Basically you believe in Science to true knowledge. That makes science your God. Hmm. Explain to me how a man that is medicall dead came back to live. ? How did cancer in a patient disappeared without drugs. Look around you, all the prediction in the bible are beginning to come to pass. A text written by "old, white bearded" men.

      November 30, 2011 at 7:56 pm |
    • Matt

      Dino, how many times has revelations been used to predict the end of times? How many times has that been true? On the science front, you really need to grab a basic biology text book. "Clinical death" is defined as the cessation of pulse and breathing. People can be brought back from clinical death for several minutes with no ill effects. Other more remarkable cases are the result of missing a patient's pulse and breathing because of weak vital signs. The body also has several evolved defenses against cancer, just like other natural diseases. Science is not a god but a worldview that looks for answers instead of making them up.

      November 30, 2011 at 8:26 pm |
  20. blake

    Not surprising, but disgusting nonetheless. Self-serving, opportunistic, nominal Christianity, prosperity gospel.

    November 30, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
    • Anonymous

      Dude, you better watch your mouth man. I bet your religion is no better than what you just said.

      November 30, 2011 at 6:34 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.