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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. Mishka

    That man is a living cartoon. HOW do people fall for such a con?

    December 4, 2011 at 4:09 pm |
    • Ocean grace

      Con? That man has more belief in God and inspiration to help others and give them the hope that he has, it's unreal! You can see it in just his smile alone! He could be a con artist, and make easily, millions, but he uses his gift for the good of man kind, the gift of hope for God and better things. He even gives you examples of life experiences you can relate to and know exactly where he is coming from. Come on, Con? I think a little jealousy may be lying in that comment and with good reason. We'd all love to be doing what we love and getting rich at it, and some of us would love to help our fellow man as well, and thats exactly what he does:)

      December 4, 2011 at 5:06 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Oh, brother. I have a bridge in Brooklyn for sale, you delusional dweeb. Make me an offer.

      December 4, 2011 at 6:10 pm |
  2. samuelsaid3

    reality tv...

    hummm
    if it was REAL then the cameras would go to the places
    where the people are already serving. there would be no reason to
    hand pick a group from the stadium to make it happen.

    currently, as CNN knows, all over the world there are real people
    living what they believe and keepin' it real. They're not
    in Chicken Soup for the Soul books, and they may not be
    shown on Oprah, or CNN Heros -

    nor on a reality tv show..

    But we see and hear of goodness...
    and you're beautiful!

    ++++++++++++++

    a soccer coach who calls a time out to comfort and care for a skinned knee -
    she's not so great at soccer, you know... but that's not the reason she likes soccer practice
    you'll not hear what he said to the little girl as he caught her tear
    in his cap... but she'll remember it the rest of her life.

    a teacher who stays after school to help a student... because
    you don't need to know why, sometimes it's not safe for some
    children in some neighborhoods to be at home alone.

    a nurse who works over time at children's hospital helping a young
    family move through the dying process with their eighteen month old first born child

    a retired farmer gifting some land to a migrant family as they
    start their new berry business. "It's only ten acres." He says
    But it is A LOT MORE THAN THAT.

    a little boy who loves horses, but the family can't afford one
    so he volunteers cleaning stalls at a local boarding stable just to be near them

    a flight attendent who helps a sick man by moving him
    to another seat, away from public eye -
    as he cares for him - he serves pepsi and peanuts
    with a smile - and all the while concerned he not be away from him for too long

    a four year old who learns for the first time that there are children
    who need... so, on her own she collects her favorit toys and shoes
    and wraps them in gift paper asking where 'they' are so she can give the kids
    their presents.

    a retired capenter learns local artists helping in poverty area public schools
    need canvases for painting - he builds the frames, stretches the fabric
    and they show up at the school..

    a grandma who visits a coffee shop, she sits and knits and considers time
    soon, she has three pre-teens that meet her once a week
    who are learning how to knit scarfs "better than wallmart".

    an apartment building owner who takes a chance and offers
    one of his vacant apartments to a homeless, unemployeed man and his family
    for three months while he "get's on his feet".
    "besides..." he says. "I always have a few vacant apartments."

    with one less thing to worry about, the man finds a job
    and leases the apartment for a year... "One less vacant apartment." he says.

    groups of people, all year, participate in missions
    that include building, cleaning, helping, teaching, health care...
    all the time.

    in all these examples, and MORE, there was and is no thought
    to be on display for "reality tv". It's not the point, just as
    sharing a coffee with a friend is not dependent on the brand.
    Good company? Instant Foldergs will taste like heaven!

    What could come from reality TV like this? Would it grow
    more non real watchers?

    Would it be exploitive? I mean, who's helping who?
    Like I said, its already happening, to know what is needed you go to the need
    You see? just because something is "on [his] heart" does not mean it comes from The Heart.

    Keep the beat invisible precious ones!
    I tell you the truth, those who know the Life in service and giving
    know the wonder of their acts in secret with an audience of One.

    December 3, 2011 at 11:52 am |
  3. Bob

    The guy defines "smarmy". People must be pretty stupid generally, to fall for con artists like Osteen.

    December 3, 2011 at 10:38 am |
  4. petey

    Bible shmible.............Funny how the Bible Belt where they pray 24/7 has all the tornadoes which they can't seem to pray away. Look at Texas with all their B.A. Xians, that State is burning up. Maybe they're praying to the wrong god????????

    December 3, 2011 at 10:35 am |
  5. The Truth

    I figured out something, narcissists and fame seekers love it when you talk about them for bad or for good. With all the problems in the world including personal challenges we must all overcome, a celebrity is something I don't have to worry about. I think if everyone would move on with their lives, deal with what's important, focus on the real issues, have lunch with an old friend, these bottom-feeders would go away because no one would even be concerned about what these people do, their motives, their income etc. Life is less complicated. One less book to buy. One less show to watch...

    December 3, 2011 at 2:28 am |
  6. End Times

    On Larry King on June 20, 2005, Osteen said that false religions such as Islam, Hinduism, and Judaism don’t concern him and he doesn’t really know who’s going to Hell and who isn’t. Osteen plainly denied the redemptive work of the Lord Jesus Christ, clearly stating that he didn't know if Christ-rejecters go to Heaven or Hell.

    Matthew 12:34, "...for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh"

    KING: What if you're Jewish or Muslim, you don't accept Christ at all?

    OSTEEN: You know, I'm very careful about saying who would and wouldn't go to heaven. I don't know ...

    A "Christian" Pastor doesn't know? He doesn't know what the bible says?

    John 14:6—
    "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."

    Acts 4:12—
    "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved."

    John 3:36—
    "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him."

    KING: If you believe you have to believe in Christ? They're wrong, aren't they?

    OSTEEN: Well, I don't know if I believe they're wrong. I believe here's what the Bible teaches and from the Christian faith this is what I believe. But I just think that only God will judge a person's heart. I spent a lot of time in India with my father. I don't know all about their religion. But I know they love God. And I don't know. I've seen their sincerity. So I don't know. I know for me, and what the Bible teaches, I want to have a relationship with Jesus.

    They love God? Is Osteen really that ignorant of Hinduism and Islam? Which God do they love, Jesus? Nope.

    December 2, 2011 at 10:19 pm |
    • dB

      Well said! He sounds "convenient".

      December 4, 2011 at 3:57 pm |
  7. End Times

    Matthew 7:15 "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves."

    2 Timothy 4:3-4 "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables."

    2 Corinthians 11:13-15 "For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works."

    2 Peter 2:1 "But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction."

    Mark 10:25 "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."

    December 2, 2011 at 10:09 pm |
  8. Channing Smith

    I'm so glad Joel didn't quit; millions would miss his weekly Gift of Encouragement.

    Check out the best book trailer of 2011 that discusses the importance of Gifts in the marketplace.
    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ch5m-U7uvYk&w=640&h=360]

    December 2, 2011 at 6:03 pm |
  9. Common Sense

    Note to liberals. Conservative fundamentalist christians tend to hate Joel Osteen. If you watch some of his sermons, they are really good and you don't have to be a believer to like the message.

    December 2, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
  10. Common Sense

    I like Osteen. Very uplifting character that preaches good values, not right-wing fundamentalist screw the poor type of values that seen from people like John Hagee.

    December 2, 2011 at 4:51 pm |
    • End Times

      On Larry King on June 20, 2005, Osteen said that false religions such as Islam, Hinduism, and Judaism don’t concern him and he doesn’t really know who’s going to Hell and who isn’t. Osteen plainly denied the redemptive work of the Lord Jesus Christ, clearly stating that he didn't know if Christ-rejecters go to Heaven or Hell.

      Matthew 12:34, "...for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh"

      KING: What if you're Jewish or Muslim, you don't accept Christ at all?

      OSTEEN: You know, I'm very careful about saying who would and wouldn't go to heaven. I don't know ...

      A "Christian" Pastor doesn't know? He doesn't know what the bible says?

      John 14:6—
      "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."

      Acts 4:12—
      "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved."

      John 3:36—
      "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him."

      KING: If you believe you have to believe in Christ? They're wrong, aren't they?

      OSTEEN: Well, I don't know if I believe they're wrong. I believe here's what the Bible teaches and from the Christian faith this is what I believe. But I just think that only God will judge a person's heart. I spent a lot of time in India with my father. I don't know all about their religion. But I know they love God. And I don't know. I've seen their sincerity. So I don't know. I know for me, and what the Bible teaches, I want to have a relationship with Jesus.

      They love God? Is Osteen really that ignorant of Hinduism and Islam? Which God do they love, Jesus? Nope.

      December 2, 2011 at 10:18 pm |
  11. RockyPalomino

    I'm a Christian, but Osteen does not represent me. He makes me ill - from his silly permanent grin and phony affected speech to his fluff Prosperity messages. He's just a tele-pimp, as far as I'm concerned.

    2Corinthians 2:17 Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, like men sent from God.

    Matt 6:5 And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.

    December 2, 2011 at 1:30 pm |
    • dB

      You are so very right! Every mega-church preacher out there drools over his fame and money. Give me a real-world, local church preacher who I can know one-on-one. These guys are unreachable to anyone but the rich and famous.

      December 4, 2011 at 4:01 pm |
  12. Erik in Houston

    This guy and his wife creep me out. They do seem to know how to run a very profitable business though.

    December 2, 2011 at 11:29 am |
  13. Arabella Onasis

    I'm totally disappointed in these two...
    Christendom... is going to hell... why don't you sleep with the harlot? THere are other reality shows where millions are being made because of the harlots..
    It won't belong before Joel and his wife are sleeping with them...
    I can't wait till this all collapses....it has to....
    the church leaders are just as bad as the worshippers...

    December 2, 2011 at 11:24 am |
  14. Donald in CA

    I'm getting tired of mr. perfect. Ask him what he thinks about gays and the death penalty and he starts talking with cotton in his mouth.

    December 2, 2011 at 6:17 am |
  15. lost

    Respect!

    December 2, 2011 at 2:38 am |
  16. Shap

    I rarely watch TV because all they have is a bunch of junk on there. I do like some of the reality shows, I believe Mark Burnett also produced Secret Millionaire which was a great program, but too many greedy people complained that the Millionaire's weren't giving enough. We have a bunch of spoiled people in the US, they couldn't see the good the Millionaire's were doing and the people they touched. Plus people watching the show became aware of the different people that were helping their communities and they could track them down and donate funds to their great causes. I was so disappointed that the show is no longer on the air.

    December 2, 2011 at 1:17 am |
  17. Hope

    How exciting, I love Mark Burnett, I became familiar with his name because I love Survivor, Celebrity Apprentice is also a great show that he produces. I would love to see Joel Olsteen's congregation in action helping people. It will definitely be something that I will watch!

    December 2, 2011 at 1:04 am |
  18. christian soldier

    Sinners will burn in hell for all eternity.

    December 2, 2011 at 12:27 am |
    • Atheist

      Yeah I don't think so.

      December 2, 2011 at 7:23 am |
  19. Janet

    "The Osteen's: One Man Search for a Chin".

    December 1, 2011 at 9:30 pm |
  20. Guest

    Oh, Please!! These Reality Shows are, in my opinion, a large part of what is responsible for the decline in morality in today's society. Let's not drag the religious element into that warped and dangerous element of our society which is now mostly dominated by the mindless drone celebrities. Is EVERYONE sliding downhill??

    December 1, 2011 at 8:54 pm |
    • sybaris

      Actually it's a match made in heaven, no pun intended.

      Religion requires people to be mindless in order to perpetuate

      December 1, 2011 at 11:11 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.