9:14am PT by Jackie Strause
Emmys: Leah Remini's Scientology Series Nabs Reality Nomination
Leah Remini has earned a 2017 Emmy nomination for her high-profile Scientology series. The A&E exposé Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath scored a nomination for best informational series or special during Thursday's announcement of the annual TV awards.
After 34 years of devotion, Remini left the Church of Scientology in a highly publicized departure in 2013. Now, nearly four years after her exit, Remini is continuing to earn recognition for her plight.
The controversial religion's defector launched the unscripted series, of which she is an executive producer, late last year. Remini, who detailed the threats she received from the church ahead of the series' launch that still continue today, confessed that everyone on her team told her not to do the show.
"They want me to be an actress. They want me to do what I love to do," she said during The Hollywood Reporter's Reality TV Roundtable. "Acting is something that I love to do, but this is my passion. They don't want me to be known as someone who does a show about Scientology, but what am I going to do? Not do it?"
The series ranked as cable's top unscripted series among total viewers for 2016.
The actress, who will also be reuniting with her King of Queens husband, Kevin James, on the second season of CBS' Kevin Can Wait, said she simply couldn't turn away from the potential to help people by shedding a light on the church and the aftermath members face when leaving it.
The series has been renewed for a 10-episode second season, with a premiere date yet to be announced. A&E Network also aired a two-hour special after the finale of the six-episode first season, Merchants of Fear, in May.
"This is about showing the actual practices dictated by this policy of Scientology that demands for people to be destroyed," Remini told THR. "That's what we're talking about. You can believe in whatever you want to believe in. You want to be a scientologist? That's great, but don't deny these are the practices of it that are hurting people."
The Church asked that THR link to its website, which it claims "exposes the fraud behind Leah Remini's bigoted hate-filled program."
Also nominated in the category was CNN's Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown, Bravo's Inside the Actors Studio, National Geographic's StarTalk and HBO's Vice.
The 2017 Emmys will broadcast Sept. 17 on CBS with host Stephen Colbert. For the full list of nominees, head here.