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. PKB

    Now some of you are arguing within your own comments. Amazing! Most of these were not even worth putting out or
    Someone's time to do it. Go get a life.

    December 1, 2011 at 8:46 pm |
  2. Pikb

    Omg! After reading all these comments I ' m trying figure who everyone is mad at Joel , god or yourselves for not being open minded. No one is forcing you to watch or even like what Joel may or may not do. You must watch it to be so opinonated.
    So why r you complaining bottom line TURN IT OFF for goodness sake. I believe you just want to be head and complain over just about anything even if was good rope.

    December 1, 2011 at 8:42 pm |
  3. horseyak

    I welcome any reality show that doesn't involve a Kardashian.

    December 1, 2011 at 8:16 pm |
  4. BoFo

    I wouldn't waste 10 seconds of my time watching this creepy charlatan on television or anywhere. He represents all that is wrong with our society and especially its spiritual values.

    December 1, 2011 at 8:00 pm |
  5. bellestarrr

    I have tried to watch joel osteen on his program and on peers morgan..there is just something very odd about him..when he preaches its like in this sing songey manner with a weird cadence...some of his expressions and looks are very strange too..im not saying he isnt a good person(course we cannot see the private personna on tv) but he is a very strange person...do you think jesus was like this and preached like this..if so heavon is gonna be a very strange place my friends..victoria looks like she can be a real you know what off camera.

    December 1, 2011 at 7:35 pm |
  6. Jeff

    This man is creepy and I don't understand why people would give him money. Creepiest of all is his wife who sits there nodding her head and looking pretty but vacuous. What do you people see in him?

    December 1, 2011 at 7:05 pm |
  7. theAntiELVIS

    This should be unintentionally amusing

    December 1, 2011 at 5:57 pm |
  8. Agent Smith

    Osteen is an unctuous weenie.

    December 1, 2011 at 5:55 pm |
  9. james

    Lets say Jesus returns today...were judged and not saved . So a bunch of you go floating around in the clouds, the rest spend eternity with flesh burning, puking, being jabbed by the devils fork, breathing noxious fumes, listening to Tammy Faye Baker records...If youre not laughing at how insane that idea is, you must be a Republican.

    December 1, 2011 at 4:24 pm |
    • weezy

      .... and you must be nuts!

      December 1, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
  10. Lopaka

    another sit-com, right on. I saw this guy interviewed by Pierce. Funny guy.

    December 1, 2011 at 4:14 pm |
  11. Gail T

    The Mennonites and the Southern Baptists do this already...just ask anyone who has been hit by a tornado or hurricane. The first people to show up to help are the Mennonites and the Baptists. They do this quietly and with dignity without using the stricken community as a prop. For Osteen to do this to "extend his brand" is at the least in poor taste and at its worst sacriligious.

    December 1, 2011 at 3:53 pm |
    • Chris W

      Gail, I enjoyed your comment on this post. Too many people like Joel do this for honor and glory, the "look at me, look at me" mentality and he should know better, if he wants to say he is a man for God and His word, then this show will not air. We need to pray for men and women like this. You want reality then show people who have been touched by the church, not mentioning any specific church, but the people who have been inpacted by their local church or a church... Those men and women who have been impacted on Christians who have stood up and shone the light of God amongst a dark time.. enjoyed your post!!

      December 1, 2011 at 8:17 pm |
  12. Madge

    To one of the "christian soldiers" your comments reveal your level of intelligence, zero out of 100. You obviously cant have a discussion without resorting to dirt talk. I don't like JO eithre, he's doing a great job of derailing the gospel along with many others, a sheep in wolves clothes. Some can see him for who he is..

    December 1, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
    • christian soldier

      You got so offended you had to come in and post about it? Sad. Ooh, moral outrage!

      No one posting under this name seems any too smart. But you? You're a hypocrite, which is *worse*.

      December 1, 2011 at 4:26 pm |
  13. mrgmorgan56

    Well, it won't be a reality show. It will be a show about fantasies that do not exist.

    December 1, 2011 at 1:22 pm |
    • lil bunny

      Too bad for you Mr. Morgan. Boo hoo.

      December 1, 2011 at 3:12 pm |
    • lil bunny's mom

      You sound like an upstanding person of faith, lil bunny.

      December 1, 2011 at 3:22 pm |
    • weezy

      There are still plenty of good people in this country..maybe not you, but they do exist.

      December 1, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
  14. Choconet

    This breaks my heart that yet another "man of God" wants to make his name famous throughout the world, but not the name of Jesus Christ. In some misguided attempt at glorifying God a lot of pastors have become deceived into believing this is the will of God, but they themselves are egomaniacs looking for fame and notoriety through God. No longer a servant of God, but God’s pimp! God will not share his glory! Preach the uncompromising word of God, heal the sick, help hurting people, but don't let your right hand know what your left hand is doing. A reality TV show that not only lets his right hand know what the left hand is doing, but the whole world. He is so misguided in his believe that showing people doing good will somehow catch on and people will go out and do good! It’s already been done, remember Oprah’s Angel network! How’s that working out for her!

    December 1, 2011 at 12:54 pm |
    • christian soldier

      I agree. It is repugnant when these so-called "pastors" use the name of God for earthly gain and riches. You are far better off sticking with your local church and avoiding getting mixed up with these "mega-churches" that pervert the Word of God for fame and fortune.

      December 1, 2011 at 1:13 pm |
    • cmkc

      Amen. You're supposed to do your good works behind closed doors and not advertise "how wonderful" you are by giving a pittance here and there. Pharisees on the street celebrating THEMSELVES.

      December 1, 2011 at 2:52 pm |
    • just to say

      Please do not judge Joel Osteen based on his wealth or TV show. Only God can judge what happens after death. If Joel believes this reality show is a heart felt mission from God, let him do it and support him. He is not doing anything bad. Why can't he get compliments and praises for doing such a mission to help others? Why do we have to always curse at those who gets paid for doing good? Why does he have to wear a robe and sandal like Jesus in year 2011? It doesn't matter if you're rich or poor to help others in need. The main point is "helping".

      December 1, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
    • Lisa

      I didn't even finish reading your comment – got as far as "man of God". Sorry, but he is hardly a man of God – he is a prosperity preacher – a false teacher! No surprise – it is a sign of the times that more of these men are showing up and gaining popularity, and leading people astray (and giving christianity a bad name!).

      December 1, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
    • satan

      I have a brother that just became a PASTOR
      after coming out of the BANKING industry.
      He told our family years ago about all the bad loans he was selling, (2005,2006,2007) and KNEW that the folks wouldn't
      be able to afford them down the road,

      I CAN'T STAND these jesus freaks that think the can be forgiven after a couple
      weird things they do at these churches.

      this guy will screw it up. like jim and tammy Bakker!!!
      give it time. there GOD will tempt them


      December 1, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
    • Marilyn

      Amen to that!

      December 1, 2011 at 3:35 pm |
    • weezy

      We need positive entertainment on tv. Just because one show failed, it doesn't mean that we should stop trying. Stop being so negative and cynical.

      December 1, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
  15. Katie Koenig / Houston Bead Museum

    The Joel Osteen reality show just sounds like a "breath of fresh air" in reality TV.

    December 1, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
  16. CURTIS

    Creepiest dude on tv. Period.

    December 1, 2011 at 12:37 pm |
    • Paul

      God Bless you CURTIS iconoclast and truthfairy, way to go! stand to up to him.

      December 1, 2011 at 12:47 pm |
  17. Nope

    A reality showed based on a myth. Nice

    December 1, 2011 at 12:15 pm |
    • Charlie B

      In your opinion. This is a poor format for debating the existence of God. Just toss out some inflammatory statements without having to put up a defense.

      December 1, 2011 at 2:06 pm |
    • claybigsby

      here is a defense for you charlie....

      The bible was written by 30+ different people over 1500+ years. many passages contradict themselves. Many passages were deleted by men throughout history. the people who wrote about jesus never new him personally, only wrote about him 40 years after his death. There is no physical evidence of the garden of eden, noah's ark, or world wide flooding. Now your turn.

      December 1, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
    • lil bunny

      a comment based on ignorance and lack of faith. how sad for you. Have a nice day!

      December 1, 2011 at 3:14 pm |
    • Chris W

      Clay ... and to whomever else.. I too at one time had a fight with my faith and walked away for over 27 years, found my way back once I lost my job and could no longer provide for our family and lost my house and everything. The only thing I could do was drop to my knees and give my life, my passion back to God, because you see you may not be able to see the light because of the darkness which I understand because most people are not open to the experience, you may not want to excpet God, but one millionth of asec into Hell, you will then believe. A lot of people want to try the evidence card and then not allow any replies to their posts, but they dont post the evidence that has been uncovered, the times that are being fullfilled now... they want to focus on the little bit that "science" has not proven because it doesn need proven or will when it is time. You see Sir, our time is nothing to Gods.. our own strengths gets us no where, our own merrits gets us nothing only when we are doing it through God almighty are we truly blessed.. There is a reson why the bible is one of the most stolen books, one of the most unreturned books of the public library system, and when it comes time for God to tell his son to go get his people, for people like you that will never open thier heart, their eyes to what God sees and has predicted I as well as many people on here feel for you and those that will never know the true Grace and the true feeling of the Holy Spirit. May He manafest in a way that will change your life.

      December 1, 2011 at 8:34 pm |
  18. Iconoclast

    Osteen, you are so lucky your religion is false. Because your "megachurch" goes against christ's teachings as I understand them. You are the Money Changer in the temple. Your god is mammon. Give up your fancy cars, your huge house and take a vow of poverty, then I will consider you may be sincere in your beliefs (not that I will ever share them). You had better hope your god doesn't exist (I have a feelling you already know that to be true) or you're going to be in a steaming heap of $hi t come judgement day.

    December 1, 2011 at 12:11 pm |
    • Jessica, NJ

      Iconoclast has hit the nail on the head. This "preacher" is just a money grabbing faker fleecing his flock just like Jim Bakker did.

      December 1, 2011 at 1:12 pm |
    • Smukers

      You hit the nail on the head here. The little prig is only out to make the big bucks. Let's see the little monkey give up all his worldly assets and walk about in a robe and sandals, as Jesus did. This little coward is NO match.

      December 1, 2011 at 2:17 pm |
    • weezy

      Let me get this straight. It's ok for movie stars, athletes, rappers, rock stars, etc., to make millions teaching our children to become perverts, but it's wrong for a positive messager to be a millionaire. Wow!!

      December 1, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  19. RC

    A young man who wishes to remain a sound Atheist cannot be too careful of his reading. There are traps everywhere–Bibles laid open, millions of surprises, fine nets and stratagems. God is, if I may say it, very unscrupulous. If you are really a product of a materialistic universe, how is it that you don't feel at home there?

    December 1, 2011 at 11:44 am |
    • TheTruthFairy

      Hey RC,

      When are you going to post those refutations to Non-Doubting Thomas' post? I'm still waiting (if you're short on time, please jut post #9)

      December 1, 2011 at 12:43 pm |
    • christian soldier


      You mean that cut-and-paste post?

      December 1, 2011 at 1:02 pm |
    • TheTruthFairy

      @christian soldier
      Yes 'the copy and paste' one. Does the fact that it was copied take anything away from the points made?

      Here is a copy/paste from the copy/past post. I would sincerely like for a christian to refute this point without resorting to some christian square dance thought process.

      9. The stories of Christianity are not even original. They are borrowed directly from earlier mythology from the Middle East. Genesis and Exodus, for example, are clearly based on earlier Babylonian myths such as The Epic of Gilgamesh, and the Jesus story itself is straight from the stories about Apollonius of Tyana, Horus and Dionysus (including virgin birth, the three wise men, the star in the East, birth at the Winter solstice, a baptism by another prophet, turning water into wine, crucifixion and rising from the dead).

      ready, set, go!

      December 1, 2011 at 1:13 pm |
    • RC

      Different RC, but we're commenting on the same blog..... Sorry...

      December 1, 2011 at 1:14 pm |
    • fred

      If you would twist one of your supposed “truths” then I must assume you twist them all in order to support some position that elevates your god.
      You said:” the Jesus story itself is straight from the stories about Apollonius of Tyana”
      -You and I both know that is not true so why did you say it? Apollonius lived about 15-98AD and the first writings were in the 2nd century related to him. In this area Christianity was already spreading with Paul preaching about the miracles and life and death of Christ in 31-34 AD. Paul later wrote about these events 150 years before the first writings by, Philostratus regarding Apollonius. You know you have this backwards as Philostratus derived his ideas from the Christians and like the Romans was writing such as to discredit Christians.

      December 1, 2011 at 1:57 pm |
    • TheTruthFairy

      Thanks anyway RC.

      Any other takers? I would love a response.

      December 1, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
    • TheTruthFairy

      Are you saying that the NT was around in 31-34 AD?

      December 1, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
    • fred

      Paul and the apostles began to preach the gospel of Jesus about 31-34 AD. This account of preaching is recorded in various manuscripts (regardless if one believes the message is true it was preached). Somewhere between 50-62AD Paul’s written Letters were docu-mented and agreed to by most accredited scholars (7 of the 14 letters have some level of dispute).
      Scripture is the Holy Word of God that Jesus referred and is contained in various forms. The Bible is common today in various translations. The manuscripts were all complete by AD 95 then later canonized with various books included or excluded. The Bible you probably refer to was pulled together by the church in AD 125 and accepted worldwide by about AD 300.

      December 1, 2011 at 3:16 pm |
    • Mike G

      @TruthFairy –

      Zeitgeist was debunked years ago. It was an elementary attempt at trying to dismantle the gospel. If it were legit, people would still use it as a defense for their arguments.

      December 1, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
    • TheTruthFairy

      @Mike G
      Who said anything about Zeitgeist and how does that relate to my question?

      December 2, 2011 at 6:11 am |
    • TheTruthFairy

      In typical Christian fashion, you cherry picked something out of what was said, and ignored the rest. The point raised was from someone else, and I simply don’t know enough about Apollonius to argue that point effectively, so I’m willing to concede the Apollonius/Jesus for the sake of getting on to the part of Non-Doubting Thomas' post that I`m really interested in hearing about.
      How do you explain the similarities between the Epic of Gilgamesh and the Creation, and Noah stories found in the Old Testament?

      December 2, 2011 at 6:30 am |
    • fred

      I guess you could call it cherry picking. I picked Apollonius out because the Romans used an embellished version of this wandering philosopher to discredit Christianity which was growing and causing problems in the area. I just assumed you picked him out also for the same reason so it looked like a good starting point.
      As to The Epic of Gilgamesh it would appear the point is also to discredit Christianity. The Hebrew account of the flood and creation is in the tradition of the Hebrew or chosen ones. These chosen ones passed the story of creation and flood down thru their oral tradition as faith comes from hearing. They were to keep the word in their hearts so no one could ever take it away or corrupt it. So many ceremonies, celebrations, traditions, readings and rituals were established in order that they never forget God and His covenant with them. Meticulous in their passing of the accounts related to their history they retained great detail when Moses finally put it in writing many years later. We do not have dates for the beginning or the flood. If you take the accounts as literal we can argue 4,000 BC but, that is another can of worms. Biblical scholars today may argue for a time period of 4,000BC to 97,000BC. The point being the story of creation and flood was well known in oral tradition at least 2,000 years before the first fragments of the Epic of Gilgamesh were dated. Others will argue that we have no written proof of the Moses account until much later. What is striking to me is that the Sumerian cuneiform writing (Epic version) first dates to 3,300 BC which is very close to the literal 4,000 time period of the Hebrew.
      The two accounts actually support one another in a way. If we further consider the various flood stories worldwide one would think we today are out on a limb saying it never happened. I understand the atheist desire to paint it all as shared mythology but, our brain must rationalize our beliefs to stay balanced. To me it screams out proof that the Divine hand of God has no problem getting His story out and that it is true. Take note the Epic of Gilgamesh was found in the library at Nineveh. This is classic God at work. Nineveh was that country that repented and turned back to God when Jonah warned them. When the skeptics demanded a sign from Jesus he said no sign will be given to you except the sign of Jonah. So here we are 2,000 years later and atheists will see what came from Nineveh as proof God is myth and believers will see the Divine workings of their Lord and Savior. Seek and you shall find your heart’s desire in God’s word. Atheist find support to reject what they cannot see and the Christian finds the Living Word of God that comes alive to them every day as they worship the God who loves and reveals all things through His word.

      December 2, 2011 at 1:48 pm |
  20. Michael

    would you agree that most of the comments on here is a microcosm of our society? I mean it wasn't post segregation or after the US decided to let every POS in this country. It's when our goverment started to take Christianity out of our everyday lives that the moral decay of our nation has come full force.

    December 1, 2011 at 11:42 am |
    • christian soldier

      Yes, exactly. Criminals should be punished before the law. So it is with Christians and sinners. We want them to be saved, but we agree that if they aren't, they have to be punished. Otherwise, there is no justice. That's why when I see a sinner, I buy them drinks, then take them back to my place and punish them. With my peen.

      December 1, 2011 at 12:11 pm |
    • TheTruthFairy

      @christian soldier
      you want us to be saved from what?

      December 1, 2011 at 12:44 pm |
    • christian soldier

      It is surely a sign of the depravity of our times that someone comes on here and masquerades under my name and uses the most vulgar, ugly language. The post above did not come from me, and that language is surely not representative of a Christian.

      @The TruthFairy

      Saved from eternal dam.nation.

      December 1, 2011 at 12:54 pm |
    • christian soldier

      @TruthFairy – from eternal hellfire and damnation, one orifice at a time.

      December 1, 2011 at 12:58 pm |
    • TheTruthFairy

      So my options are salvation through your christ, or punishment?

      December 1, 2011 at 1:07 pm |
    • christian soldier

      Just look at the behavior of the atheists. They come on a belief blog and steal someone's user name and make vulgar, crude s.e.x.ual comments. This is the behavior of people with no morals. And they can't stand the fact that they will be held accountable for their sins before God. Well, don't blame me. You have been told the Good News and choose to ignore it.

      December 1, 2011 at 1:07 pm |
    • OhPlease!

      "Just look at the behavior of the atheists. They come on a belief blog and steal someone's user name and make vulgar, crude s.e.x.ual comments. This is the behavior of people with no morals."

      Actually there are Christians on here that do the EXACT same thing. So your comment goes to them as well.

      December 1, 2011 at 1:11 pm |
    • Really?

      puhleeese-Christians come here and post vulgur, crude , s_e_x ual remarks? Can you show us which Christian is posting that kind of content?

      December 1, 2011 at 1:22 pm |
    • tlarose

      How do you know that person is an atheist? Maybe they're just an immature jerk and they probably go to church every sunday...

      December 1, 2011 at 1:35 pm |
    • Really?

      "puhleeese-Christians come here and post vulgur, crude , s_e_x ual remarks? Can you show us which Christian is posting that kind of content?"

      How do you know which is which when they are stealing each others handles?

      December 1, 2011 at 1:37 pm |
    • Really?

      It is definetly one of these handles on this thread who seem to have an unsual interest in defending that vulgur comment.

      December 1, 2011 at 1:40 pm |
    • @'christian soldier'

      The moment you enter any blog – relevant or not – with a douch.e name like 'christian soldier', and get haughty about things, you may as well change your handle to 'self-righteous as$hole'. Quit being shocked that people are dogging on you after you blather around on here about 'evil' and 'morality' and then magically decide who's an atheist or not. Then you whip out the old cliche about being held accountable before God? Guess what, punkin', no one here is going to wait that long to make YOU accountable for being a d!ck. So shove it.

      December 1, 2011 at 1:50 pm |
    • @@

      @' "-That empty vocabulary of yours speaks very highly of your education and where you come from!

      December 1, 2011 at 1:53 pm |
    • ......

      "@' "-That empty vocabulary of yours speaks very highly of your education and where you come from!"

      Pot meet Kettle, Kettle meet Pot.

      December 1, 2011 at 1:56 pm |
    • 'christian soldier'

      @@? That's all you've got? More smug self righteous nonsense? 'You don't agree with me or my worldview, so, you must be an atheist/uneducated/from a bad home/etc'. You must have better nuggets than that in your repertoire. You've been such a font of wit and wisdom so far, after all. Suck it up, buttercup. Fun's going to be had at your expense as long as you take yourself so seriously.

      And Michael, you're ridiculous. The comments section on a CNN column is where you're judging society? How long have you been on the internet, 5 minutes?

      You guys deserve Joel Osteen as much as he deserves you.

      December 1, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
    • Madge

      To one of the "christian soldiers" your comments reveal your level of intelligence, zero out of 100. You obviously cant have a discussion without resorting to dirt talk. I don't like JO either, he's doing a great job of derailing the gospel along with many others, a sheep in wolves clothes. Some can see him for who he is..

      December 1, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
    • christian soldier

      Madge got so upset about it she had to copy-paste the same little outraged diatribe. Stop wasting your employer's time by posting on the religion blog while at work. God doesn't like stealing.

      December 1, 2011 at 4:28 pm |
    • Madge

      Actually it was my own post, just meant to put it here. Not at work or stealing from anyone JFYI On the other side of the world but you wouldn't know that. .

      December 1, 2011 at 4:59 pm |
    • Madtown

      Saved from eternal dam.nation.
      "Eternal" damnation? We have finite lives here in this world, why would any punishment we'd receive be eternal? An eternal punishment for a finite "crime"? I thought God was just? An eternal punishment for a finite crime is not at all just.

      December 1, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
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