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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. Kentucky Man

    Would someone please gag me?

    November 30, 2011 at 4:24 pm |
  2. Rob

    TG you are Ignorant. Non of us are qualified to judge. If you claim to be, then maybe you are the anti Christ.

    November 30, 2011 at 4:22 pm |
    • sam

      First sign of the antichrist: not being able to use the fcking 'reply' link while making a pompous post.

      November 30, 2011 at 4:25 pm |
  3. Rob

    AvdBerg and others, have you ever listen to one of his sermons? I seriously doubt it. He doesn't claim to speak for Jesus and he is not the anti christ. He does quote from the bible and he invites everyone who watches to pray the prayer of confession and accept Christ as their savior. I don't see that in many other sermons, especially on TV. What is wrong with having an attractive wife and a successful church. Everyone that is a success is not a servent of evil.
    Also, the idea that Christians do not care about future generations is a complete short cut to thinking.
    Get a grip and listen to yourselves. What a horrific society we have become, when article about helping those in need is commented on as a travisty. Let he who has no sin through the first stone.
    Unplug yourself from the TV for a while.

    November 30, 2011 at 4:19 pm |
    • J.W

      Well if I unplug my TV how will I watch the show?

      November 30, 2011 at 4:21 pm |
    • Castiel

      Yep...the huckster's pulled another one in.

      November 30, 2011 at 4:24 pm |
  4. SDFrankie

    In case you haven't been paying attention, Jesus is a cheeseburger.

    November 30, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
    • Dave A from RIO RANCHO

      You know, I never got Cheeseburger from Jesus, but it is pronounced Hey Zeus in Spanish. Maybe the Greek Gods have something to do with him??????????????

      November 30, 2011 at 4:24 pm |
    • Dean Winchester

      Damn, I think I just ate Jesus. Did he have extra cheezus on him? If so...

      November 30, 2011 at 4:26 pm |
  5. Debster707

    You know, it's really sad when someone that can make a difference in this world is put down so badly. If Joel Olsteen can make even a "little" difference it's a GOOD thing. The question is: "What are YOU doing to make a difference? What are YOU doing to help people?"

    November 30, 2011 at 4:17 pm |
    • sam

      NOT posting ignorant pollyanna sh!t on a CNN forum.

      November 30, 2011 at 4:27 pm |
    • Morrison

      How is counseling people to find answers by way of the supernatural doing "good" in the world? It's not.

      November 30, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
  6. TG

    Mr Joel Osteen has been labeled by some as the "candyman", due to his sugarcoating God's word the Bible, but unwilling to follow in Jesus "footsteps"(1Pet 2:21) when it came to telling the the "truth".(John 18:37) Jesus told the truth about his Father, Jehovah God, teaching his disciples to pray for God's name to be "sanctified" or "hallowed".(Matt 6:9)

    Joel Osteen is unlike Jesus who condemned the false religious teachings and practices that the Jews had.(Matt 15:1-11) When seeing the temple being used like business, Jesus made a whip from rope, and ran out those with sheep and cattle and "poured out the coins of the money changers", telling them: "Take these things away from her ! Stop making the house of my Father a house of merchandise."(John 2:14-16)

    Joel Osteen has made his preaching to gullible ones as a business, a money making scheme and not for the purpose making known "the good news of the kingdom" (Luke 8:1) in which Jesus taught his disciples to go "from house to house."(Acts 20:20)

    November 30, 2011 at 4:17 pm |
    • Woatalk

      Better than doing nothing...

      November 30, 2011 at 4:26 pm |
  7. Heimlick

    What's that smell?

    November 30, 2011 at 4:16 pm |
    • Scot

      Tax free profits for these users of peoples emotions !

      November 30, 2011 at 4:17 pm |
    • J.W

      Scot you are an idiot. Do you really think he doesn't have to pay income tax on the money he will make from this?

      November 30, 2011 at 4:24 pm |
  8. Jen

    I don't agree with this. I mean it is beneficial to help people but I don't think it should be publicized, especially be a religious group. While I have enjoyed Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, and Secret Millionare, I don't think a show that represents any type of religion should be broadcasting. Especially if such a religion teaches humility. In the Bible Christ talked about not intentionally showing people how amazing you are by publically demonstrating your acts of good. It should be done in order to help someone, not for gain. And this can be said in general, not in any type of religious standpoint. If Joel Osteen wants to help people get back on their feet after a natural disaster or such, good for him. Just don't make it known to the entire world how you are able to help people. Instead of wasting the money to actually get this show on the air, why not physically give the money away to struggling America's who have lost their jobs and aren't able to put food on the table? The majorify of our money spent is a waste on things not needed. I won't watch the show, regardless of what network picks it up (if it ever even happens)

    November 30, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
  9. Dave A from RIO RANCHO

    "Oh.......Wait..........We are not rich enough dear", says Joel to his wife. "We need to make more money and have it appear we are helping others". "That is what a good little Christian would do". Accept that Joel and his money hungry, over mascara wearing, wife are not christians at all. Just like all the other evangelical preachers, it is all about the money. Maybe we should pray on it. You know it works well in all the third world countries were wars and famine are never ending. Prayer does not work there, it must be segragated to the USA. Nope, that is why we have an over abundance of children in cancer hospitals being treated on a daily basis because we are being tested by God. PEOPLE WAKE UP

    November 30, 2011 at 4:12 pm |
    • Scot

      Free Money ! Free Tax money ! Oh joy !

      November 30, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
  10. qpo

    As I was reading the article, I expected something along the lines of, "And some of the proceeds will go to charity." Hopefully, monetary charities toward those in need is part of the agenda.

    November 30, 2011 at 4:12 pm |
    • Kevin

      Joel,

      Your father was an amazing man and I couldn't change the channel when he was on. I'm not even what one would consider a religious person. You however, were apparently adopted. I have no doubt your father would be disappointed in the direction you're leading your church and others. Take a stand on an issue for Pete's sake and stop waffling.

      November 30, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
  11. gesi

    for the ignorant christains I quote the bible "for we know the grace of christ jesus that though he was rich, yet for our sakes he became poor that through his poverty we might become rich" I quote again " I wish above all that though mayest prosper and be in health even as thy soul prospereth" though I came to jesus poor, but now he has made me rich so I don't have to pass through the eyes of a needle. The reason christains hav to be rich is to ensure the gospel gets to the ends of the earth unhindered. These unbleivers are angry becos they can see wat is happening, how christains are taking over big business and pluging the money into the church. As I said a man that says there is no God is a fool, and fools should be ignored. I quote " they been wise wise in their thoughts became fools" so my ignorant christain brethren pls don't attend to the vain sayings of these blinded individuals, the world must and will see the glory of God shining on us, before our sweet jesus comes to take us to be with him in the rapture.

    November 30, 2011 at 4:11 pm |
    • Dave A from RIO RANCHO

      Rapture, there is no such thing. It was made up in the 50's as one preachers interpretation. Remember, the bible, or fairy tale as I call it, is so full of garbage, who would want to worship the god in it. He is described as a jealous vengeful god who is all loving. So much so that he has babies killed and asks men to kill their own sons.

      November 30, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
    • Jen

      You don't have to be rich in order to spread the Gospel. Walk across the street to your neighbors house in order to spread the good word. The only thing you would be spending here is your efforts to make it across the street (which is none at all). The illusion that every Christian has to be rich because GOD wants it is ridiculous. That is the prosperity gospel and it has misinterpreted God's word. I think you have misinterpreted those quotes from the Bible. We become spiritually rich through Christ, not necessarily financially.

      November 30, 2011 at 4:20 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 4:32 pm |
  12. Jane

    I will definately watch this show!! I am a big fan of Joel's!

    November 30, 2011 at 4:11 pm |
    • Scot

      Make sure you give a large donation to his coffers so he can get more tax free $$$$$$$$$$$$$ !

      November 30, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
  13. Schwe1nehund

    Surprised no one's occupied this nutcase's yard.

    November 30, 2011 at 4:08 pm |
  14. serdich

    Wow the king of BS..

    November 30, 2011 at 4:08 pm |
  15. rachael

    Another closeted evangelical that is super gay.

    November 30, 2011 at 4:06 pm |
    • JT

      Yes, I keep waiting on that story to break but he can afford some high dollar males and pay them to stay quiet. Shame his wife is such a babe and hanging in there for the fame and fortune.

      November 30, 2011 at 4:12 pm |
    • Castiel

      I have heard his stance is quite wide.

      November 30, 2011 at 4:19 pm |
  16. Leaf on the Wind

    If this group helps people who are truly in need, more power to 'em. I couldn't care less what imaginary being they choose to believe in. Helping is helping, and there's plenty of need.

    November 30, 2011 at 4:04 pm |
    • Nursejess

      Imaginary being? There is NO doubt that Jesus existed, if you disbelieve that its like saying the Holocaust never happened or the Civil War. There is proof, saying he is imaginary is foolish and it's ignoring facts.

      November 30, 2011 at 4:11 pm |
    • I'm The Best!

      @ NurseJess
      There is doubt that Jesus existed. There is only mention of him in the bible. The Romans did a very good job keeping written records of everything (and everyone they crucified) and Jesus was never mentioned. No matter where you look, the only mention of him is in the bible. And I personally can't take a book that has talking snakes and magic in it as historically accurate...

      November 30, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
    • Castiel

      @Nursejess

      I have a feeling Leaf is not talking about Jesus.

      November 30, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
    • Neil Gall

      @Nursejess I believe the imaginary person refered to here would be the so-called ' all mighty' god. Not Jesus. And please don't say that they're the same person. That would only prove that your stupidity is equal to every other religious person who believes the same. And to add, people who truly die stay dead. I betcha Jesus wasn't really dead in the first place, he was probably so stoned that he was assumed dead. It's happened in hospitals a million times.

      November 30, 2011 at 4:22 pm |
    • Leaf on the Wind

      Calm the heck down, Nursejess. Where in my comment did I say that Jesus never existed? The imaginary being to which I refer is god. It was unkind and un-called for to equate me with holocaust deniers.

      November 30, 2011 at 4:22 pm |
    • Castiel

      Pointless reference to nazis or Hitler in 3...2...1...

      November 30, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
    • Morrison

      Hey nursejess – if you could provide for us that "proof" that you say exists, you could change the world. Myself and many others have been looking for a long long time and come up with *nothing* - so please share!

      November 30, 2011 at 4:59 pm |
  17. Reality Check

    This guy is sick! I think his wakllet is the place in need

    November 30, 2011 at 4:00 pm |
  18. JT

    I wonder what network is going to air this shuckster's infomercials, giving him further fame and fortune.

    November 30, 2011 at 3:57 pm |
    • Neil Gall

      Fox I would guess. Only channel as diluted as the people they show.

      November 30, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
  19. bxgrrl

    W.W.J.D.? I bet He wouldn't watch.

    November 30, 2011 at 3:57 pm |
    • AC

      I believe Jesus would join in helping people and teaching the word of God.

      November 30, 2011 at 4:00 pm |
    • sam

      @AC – but I doubt he would do it using any 'megachurch'.

      November 30, 2011 at 4:03 pm |
    • William Demuth

      If Jesus was real he would strike this parasite down during a live broadcast.

      Its people like this turd that have poisoned Christianity.

      Even the MOST devout I know realize this guy is a huckster.

      November 30, 2011 at 4:03 pm |
    • Leslie

      AC- Get over it!!!

      November 30, 2011 at 4:05 pm |
  20. AC

    http://www.religionnewsblog.com/20007/joel-osteen-5

    November 30, 2011 at 3:56 pm |
    • Castiel

      Nope.

      November 30, 2011 at 4:03 pm |
    • Leslie

      Discusting!!!

      November 30, 2011 at 4:05 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.