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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. SoFunny

    Is he a Morman?

    November 30, 2011 at 5:43 pm |
    • sam

      No. Possibly morwoman, though.

      November 30, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
  2. jim

    Love his smile!! It's about as genuine as a three dollar bill!

    November 30, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
  3. Scared

    His grin is reptilian! He comes from space! He's here for our minerals!!! he wants to kill us all for our chromium and bauxite!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    November 30, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
  4. Booty shake

    Yikes, you people are so gross that you will watch kardashian booty shake but refuse to see a smiling pastor help humanity.
    you deserve a lifetime joy of burying your nosies into the kardashian booties

    November 30, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
    • ATHEIST 1

      hey, I can't resist that smile when I see that K booty!

      November 30, 2011 at 5:44 pm |
    • daoud

      Wow, what did we do so good to get that?

      November 30, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
  5. Maria Brunette

    Didn't Jesus say whatever you do, do it in secret. What you do in secret the Lord will reward you openly. Not everything that looks good is God. In that day they will say Lord Lord I prophesied in your name, cast out demons and He will say depart from me for I never knew you. When reading the bible Jesus doesn't look anything like Hollywood. He said foxes have holes, birds have nests but the Son of man has no place to lay his head. Mr, Joel Olsteen would you follow Jesus if He told you to sell all that you own and give to the poor?

    November 30, 2011 at 5:39 pm |
    • GEM

      Maria, I absolutely agree. These are the wolves in sheep's clothing. Osteen's gone Hollywood - this is all self-serving.

      November 30, 2011 at 5:44 pm |
    • Hollywood

      Gem–GONE Hollywood? He's always been the star of his own show....just tell people what they want they want to hear, and give them an easy Jesus–wham: megachurch

      November 30, 2011 at 5:53 pm |
  6. Ardie Allen

    No one can speak for God but when they do kind unselfish acts for others they kinda do some whispering for Him.
    Don't know if I buy this guy is the real deal.
    Check out...IT IS ALL GOOD AND GOD IS AT THE END
    iF there is money associated with something..most likely that something is not associated with GOD!

    November 30, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
  7. nown

    All I know is that smile looks painful.

    November 30, 2011 at 5:37 pm |
    • eeewwwww

      Painful and fake smile...ewwww

      November 30, 2011 at 5:54 pm |
  8. Brian

    Osteen lacks education but he sure knows how to flash a saccharine smile – which is the secret of his success.

    November 30, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
    • Curious

      What is his education?

      November 30, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
    • Nonimus

      "...attended Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma where he studied radio and television communications. "
      http://www.joelosteen.com/About/Pages/AboutJoel.aspx

      November 30, 2011 at 5:39 pm |
    • Curious

      Looks like he attended college for a year and returned home to start the television side of his father's ministry. Never went to seminary.

      November 30, 2011 at 5:56 pm |
  9. Bob

    Is Joel Osteen's reality show going to be like the movie "Marjoe"?

    November 30, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
    • Griever

      It'll be like a Muppet rendition of Inception and the pro bowlers tour.

      November 30, 2011 at 5:32 pm |
  10. albert

    This guy is an embarrassment to Christianity. His teachings are far removed from those found in the Bible.

    November 30, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
    • Steve

      Yes, he and the others are called False Phrophets in the Bible....

      November 30, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
    • fay

      You obviously don't listen to the messages, nor have you attended worship services at Lakewood. It's not his teachings (Joel), it's the word of God that is being taught through God's vessel.

      November 30, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
    • Hoopty

      Funny how Osteen holds up the bible but never opens it. He is a glossy motivational speaker vending snake oil and self-help-isms. When asked pointed questions on Piers Morgan he gave the best political answer ever and squirmed out of the question.

      Some people like their ears tickled evidentally. I perfer to listen and obey what the word says instead of eating a sugar coated lie.

      November 30, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
    • Griever

      Actually there is too much volm to have instance of prevarication, Fay.

      November 30, 2011 at 5:37 pm |
    • L

      You are so far from the truth. I'm not sure how you were raised, but that may be the reason you feel this way. He makes it easy for people that have never heard the word – not strict and ritual.

      November 30, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
    • GEM

      Fay, it starts out as the word of God but once it enters the vessel, it's not safe to drink. What an embarrassment to Christianity. Wonder what his lifestyle is like - that perfectly coiffed hair with every curl in place, the white veneers, the expensive clothes. Show us the money, Joel! What a slime.

      November 30, 2011 at 5:54 pm |
  11. Joey Dutton

    I think this is great! We've attended Lakewood Church for almost 5 years and love it. The Osteens are wonderful people and have blessed and inspired us over and over. I'm bracing for an onslaught of hate and judgementalism from people (lots of here already in these comments), but I know the Osteens will remain positive and strive for excellence like they always do. You've got our support, Joel!

    November 30, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
    • L

      Thank God for someone with a positive comment!

      November 30, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
    • eeewwwww

      and your money too I'm sure

      November 30, 2011 at 5:56 pm |
    • Paid

      This has been a paid advertisement.

      November 30, 2011 at 6:11 pm |
    • HealthySkeptic

      How has he blessed you, exactly?

      November 30, 2011 at 10:07 pm |
  12. Doug

    Joel reeks of artificial. Interesting how many see through Joel's facade. But then there are all those southerners who love artificial people pleasing. To each his/her own.

    November 30, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
  13. cartmanrulz

    Wow a lot of hate and a lot of dumbe a$$es that don't know their stuff. This guy does not make money from his church. He makes money off his books and other things. All the money that goes into the church is used for the church. America is going down and the new generation of ret@rds are going to F up this country. Just wait and see.

    November 30, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
    • Griever

      Wow, you are a harbinger of glad tidings and joy. Thank you for your encouraging wisdom.

      November 30, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
    • albert

      You are blind!

      November 30, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
    • L

      Albert, guess you actually see their books then don't you? People like you give christianity a bad name.

      November 30, 2011 at 5:39 pm |
    • Griever

      I was being sarcastic to the writer cartmanrulz.

      November 30, 2011 at 5:58 pm |
    • Texas Reasonable

      Dear Cartmanrulz, what cart do you live under. It is common knowledge that the church pays for the preacher's homes, cars and all transportation. In this case the transportation is a private jet. The real kicker, it is all tax free for the humble preacher man. Check out the IRS rules and guidelines. Many who teach about God are good and humble servants. Olsteen on the other hand is a circus clown who prays on peoples' ignorance. Sadly, his flock is being fleeced and will have to answer for following a false prophet. Heaven for them is a pipedream.

      December 1, 2011 at 1:21 am |
  14. Solomon Thomas

    Dear Mr. Osteen,

    You are our hero, the world need your kind of people. My wife and I, used to watching you every Sunday on the TV. NWOW, We moved to Tenneessee since 2006 and Join your Paster Friend Danny Chamber Oasis Church. After the first program go home and watch your show at 10:30 to 11:00a.m. We are very Lucky now your are in the AIR to teach about God's greatness to save our people. With God everything is possible. May God Bless you. Thank you and good Luck in your new show. Sincerely, S.T.

    November 30, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
    • sam

      Uh oh...paddle faster, I hear banjoes.

      November 30, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
    • HealthySkeptic

      LOL

      November 30, 2011 at 10:10 pm |
  15. carly

    Watched him the other day on Piers and when it comes to answering real questions Osteen is unwilling to commit. When asked about the death penalty he danced around it without taking a position. The guy is a lightweight. I don't understand why anyone would follow him.

    November 30, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
    • fay

      probably because people aren't following Joel, they are following Jesus.

      November 30, 2011 at 5:32 pm |
    • carly

      They may be following Jesus but they are listening and watching Osteen. And Osteen has very little substance. His position is a vehicle for his book and appearance empire and not much else.

      November 30, 2011 at 5:56 pm |
  16. gesi

    Yes jesus said we should giveup all earthly things to follow him. But he also said that for everytin that is givenup for his sake we shall receive a hundred fold both in this life and in the life to come. We evangelicals make money for d primary purpose of spreading the gospel. I can giv my whole account to my church for the gospel sake. That is the zeal. So the idea is make wealth, put it in the gospel. Our efforts hav brought forth good results as can be seen by the amount of coversions of souls is all the nations of the earth. As I said we hold no one an apology, and we are firedup to do more. Also its better to watch the osteen show than some unedifyin worldly show.

    November 30, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
    • streetsmt

      gesi,
      If you give me some of that money (maybe just a mill or so) I can be converted. Send the check to ...

      November 30, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
    • Alfonzo Muchanzo

      Dude I'm a Christian and even have no idea what you're trying to say. Spell check is your friend.

      November 30, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
    • Steve

      Give a bible verse that backs your rambling nonsense....

      November 30, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  17. random

    Where are his lips?

    November 30, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
    • Griever

      By golly, you are right. Where are they?

      November 30, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
    • L

      Where are yours?

      November 30, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
  18. Griever

    But people, people, CLOWNS ARE PEOPLE, TOO... for goodness sake guys. geesh.

    November 30, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
  19. streetsmt

    Creepy smile, huh?

    November 30, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
  20. JT

    To all the suckers that donate money to his causes and listen to him preach, He is laughing all the way to the bank.

    November 30, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
    • L

      Another person that gives good people a bad name, guess you see his "books" too??? Bet you can get a copy of the financial records, then make your decision. Just like with politics, people like you make uneducated or no-knowledge statement, no facts.

      November 30, 2011 at 5:41 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.