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. amazinglarry

    If someone "truly in need" get's help, I don't care who does it...be it this or another church, non-profit agencies, government, whatever. And I could care less if they get credit for it or not. The more people that can be lifted up in their time of need, the better for all of us.

    November 30, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
  2. lady b

    I would take this show over the Kardashians any day

    November 30, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
  3. jo an

    There are the DUMB and then there are the TEXAS DUMB...not to be confused...

    November 30, 2011 at 3:17 pm |
  4. Aaron

    Look at Osteen's home, car, dress, etc., and one can instantly tell it is NOT about "God". Prosperity preachers are all the same brand of charlatan looking to make money off of selling false hope. Opiate of the masses taken on Sunday morning.

    November 30, 2011 at 3:17 pm |
    • TheTruthFairy


      November 30, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
    • Leaf on the Wind

      Television is the opiate of the masses; religion is the placebo.

      November 30, 2011 at 4:13 pm |
  5. Scott

    Jesus' greatest command was to love God and your neighbor. And your neighbor is ALL people. He didn't say love God and ridicule all else who don't believe what you believe. Perhaps some would do good if they actually applied their bibles, and not their egos/pride...

    November 30, 2011 at 3:16 pm |
  6. nrog

    Why does CNN continually pimp this guy?

    November 30, 2011 at 3:14 pm |
  7. cantsee

    Somebody upstairs and here on earth likes the Osteens. or they wouldn't have made $43 million

    November 30, 2011 at 3:12 pm |
  8. kalikim

    Joel has a fabulous accountant if he takes "no salary" then how are the both of them are living such lavish lifestyles??? Mansions, bouts, Armani suits, Coach purses??? Maybe they are selling drugs and running guns??? They're getting the $$$$ some how!

    November 30, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
    • TheTruthFairy

      It`s apparently from book sales..

      AKA B.S.

      November 30, 2011 at 3:26 pm |
  9. S.R.

    Joel you and your $10,000,000 house can..........people of understanding do not buy your act!!!

    November 30, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
  10. victims first

    No wonder he has such a big smile. Hes making millions off of poor dumb ba$tards.

    November 30, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
  11. David Dorado

    For the people so far that have brought up his lavish lifestyle and all the money he has and that it all comes from the church. YOU ARE WRONG!! Yes he does have a lot of money but that comes from the books that he has sold! He made millions off of that, he doesnt need the church's salary. So no, he doesn't get money from the church. Research it and you'll see.

    November 30, 2011 at 3:09 pm |
    • todd in DC

      And what does he write about? Seriously, he is just using this reality show scheme as another platform to spew his religious hatred. Does it really matter how he got his money?

      November 30, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
    • Nonimus

      It seems to me that it shouldn't be to difficult to make millions, if you have a half-hour infomercial going out nationally every week.

      November 30, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
    • racing mom

      iI am not a fan. He was just in the Cincinnati area several weeks ago, and charged $18 per seat. Billy Graham did it for free. Just sayin. . .

      November 30, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
  12. Dutch Cartoon Fan

    This guy is a total fraud. Just like every other big televangilist. It's about bringing in the money.

    November 30, 2011 at 3:06 pm |
  13. Adell

    Just a quick question: What the hell would a televangelist know about reality?

    November 30, 2011 at 3:04 pm |
    • todd in DC

      Televangelists are hell in reality.

      November 30, 2011 at 3:07 pm |
  14. gesi

    Arogance is wat keeps a man down.if u believe
    There is no God,fine,
    Keep your believe to yourself
    And let christain serve their God.he that says
    There is no God is a fool. So
    Why should christains
    Attend to the words of a fool?
    This world has yet to see
    Anytin. Wait and see in the next
    20 years christains will be controling
    A huge percentage of the global wealth.
    If you wana keep hating, it won't
    Us from showing Gods glory.

    November 30, 2011 at 3:03 pm |
    • todd in DC

      So atheists should "keep their beliefs to themselves", but christ eaters can parade their religion all they want all the time?

      Hypocritical much?

      November 30, 2011 at 3:06 pm |
    • apostate

      s t f u

      November 30, 2011 at 3:07 pm |
    • todd in DC

      By the way, I think you forgot to take your meds this morning. Just saying.

      November 30, 2011 at 3:08 pm |
    • Aaron

      Apparently your "God" never taught you any conventions of grammar.

      November 30, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
    • TJRii

      Arrogance keeps a man down...followed by an arrogant prediction that rich Christians will control the wealth of the world, thus fulfilling the first sentence as the rich, arrogant Christians keep others down.

      "Just wait, you'll see what happens when you don't operate according to our fantasy..."

      November 30, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
    • Wontbemanyrichpeopleinheaven

      Gesi, sounds like your brand of Christianity is all about greedniness, piling up money and tromping on the poor. What about this scripture: “I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” Matthew 19:23-24? Osteen is creating a TV show...events to brag about how wonderful his church is. Jesus emphasized the need to be humble. A real Christian would go out and help all these people and be humble about it, not broadcast it on TV and write more books.

      November 30, 2011 at 3:25 pm |
    • JT

      You should remove your lips from the crack pipe before revealing your delusions to everyone.

      November 30, 2011 at 3:53 pm |
    • Dave G

      “I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” Matthew 19:23-24

      Yes. All those rich "Christians" 😛

      November 30, 2011 at 3:58 pm |
  15. quitoslady

    This guy is such a phony. Nothing like making bank off of a bunch of stupid people.

    November 30, 2011 at 3:02 pm |
    • Dutch Cartoon Fan

      And there's never any shortage of those people.

      November 30, 2011 at 3:06 pm |
  16. Andrew

    A "reality show" truly made in hell.

    November 30, 2011 at 3:01 pm |
  17. Mark

    What's the difference between Extreme Makeover Home Edition and what Joel Osteen wants to do? If what Joel wants to do is so horrendous, then pull the plug on Extreme Makeover, because it's the exact same thing...only Extreme Makeover has no attached religious belief to it. Oh...right, that's the difference.

    November 30, 2011 at 3:00 pm |
  18. Lonewolf777

    Seriously, are you an idiot? Of course Osteen doesn't have to take a salary. EVERYTHING in his life, from his five figure suits to EVERYTHING else of luxury, are paid by his church.

    November 30, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
  19. justme

    I live in Houston, don't think for one minute they don't have plenty of money where did it come from , they are now really after the fame.. considering what they take in , they don't do very much for others. They live a very lavish lifestyle and make no bones about it.....greed......how many kids went to bed hungry.....?

    November 30, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
    • Jesus Is Lord

      How many of those hungry kids did you feed today?

      November 30, 2011 at 3:40 pm |
    • Jesus Is Lore

      No god is necessary for someone to be willing to help the needy.

      November 30, 2011 at 3:45 pm |
  20. Joe Fattal

    It's about time. His religious outreach was far from being anything but unreal. Very attractive wife he has and I am surprise she didn't reveal her looks in the name of the almighty which would have been pleased to show us one of his creation.

    November 30, 2011 at 2:57 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.