HOUSTON – Joel Osteen, the world-renown pastor who reaches millions of people every week, confirmed Tuesday that he’s teaming up with a famous reality show producer for a network television series.
Osteen insisted that the program would not be a typical reality show, but instead an extension of his ministry that would “inspire” people.
“In my mind, when I think of ‘reality’ (show), I think of cameras following you doing nothing,” Osteen said. “But this is more ‘Extreme (Makeover: Home Edition).’ We’re going with a purpose—with a mission.”
Osteen said the “stars” would likely be his Lakewood Church congregation.
“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,” he said. “A place hit by a tornado. Maybe a run-down neighborhood.”
The series would be produced by Mark Burnett, the man behind hit shows like “Survivor.” Osteen said Burnett was a big reason why he agreed to do a show after turning down other opportunities in the past.
“I’ve known Mark probably not more than a year or so, but I’ve always admired him. I’ve liked his shows,” Osteen said. “A mutual friend introduced us not long ago and I don’t know, we just hit it off.”
Plans for the show were first reported by TMZ.com after Burnett apparently leaked a few details to the Web site. Osteen said he was surprised the collaboration was getting so much media attention.
Judging by the size of Osteen’s congregation – his sermons are already broadcast to seven million Americans and almost 100 countries every week—the series would likely have quite an audience.
“I think he has a nice, peaceful spirit,” said Dolly Springs, a woman from Los Angeles who was visiting Lakewood Church Tuesday. “And I can feel that even through the TV.”
Plans for the series are still in the very early stages, Osteen said, adding that producer Burnett had not pitched the show to any networks because he was busy with a current project.
“Anything that Joel Osteen is involved with, I would love to watch,” said Dave Marcus, another Osteen fan.