Programming will aim to convert viewers to the Church, reports claim.
“The only thing more interesting than what you’ve heard,” begins the official announcement video for the Church of Scientology’s new TV network, “is what you haven’t.”
In the 60-plus years since the Church’s founding, and especially in the last decade or so, the world has indeed heard quite a lot about Scientology. But now — after years of exposés, documentaries, and high-profile defectors revealing alleged abuses carried out by the Church — they now say that “It’s TIME for us to tell OUR story…”
When the Scientology Network launches (via DirecTV, Apple TV, Roku, Fire TV, iTunes, Google Play, Chromecast, Scientology.tv, and a mobile app) on March 12 at 8 p.m. ET, the Church of Scientology will certainly have ample opportunity to tell their story.
Furthermore, according to an earlier Church announcement about the network, the project represents “the next emphatic advance in our global dissemination crusade and the future of Scientology dissemination planet wide.”
That announcement came in mid-2015 when the Church first unveiled its plans to build an extensive production facility in Los Angeles which, according to widespread media reports at the time, represented a $50 million undertaking, had serious involvement and investment from Church member Tom Cruise, and would seek to produce news content with a Scientology slant in hopes of rivaling mainstream networks like CNN.
Now, nearly three years later, the announcement of the Scientology Network likely represents the culmination of those plans.
As the announcement video (above) reveals, the network’s programming will include titles like Inside Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard: in His Own Voice, Meet a Scientologist, Voices for Humanity, and Destination Scientology.
While details about these programs and the network as a whole remain scarce, the tone of the announcement video predictably suggests that such series will seek to extol the virtues of (and recruit new members to, according to The Hollywood Reporter) an organization that has come under more fire than usual over the last few years.
The 2015 HBO documentary Going Clear, based on Lawrence Wright’s 2013 book of the same name, marked a particularly headline-grabbing indictment of alleged violence, fraud, and other wrongdoing carried out by the Church and its senior staff members.
With the book a finalist for the National Book Award and the documentary both an Emmy winner and the most-watched HBO documentary in a decade, it’s clear that Scientology is a subject of fascination for many outside the Church.
So indeed the Church may be onto something with the quasi-tagline that ends their network’s announcement video: “Curious?” Certainly, many outside the Church are curious about what goes on inside. But it’s safe to assume that that curiosity is largely a morbid one.