May 13, 2013 8:50am PT by Philiana Ng
Oxygen Banking on Religion, Orders Docu-Series About Pastors
Oxygen is doubling down with an unscripted series centered on pastors.
Pastors of L.A., from executive producers Lemuel Plummer (Vindicated, The Sheards) and Holly Carter (106 & Gospel, The Sheards), is a new docu-series following six different and world renowned "mega-pastors" in Southern California. They will share aspects of their lives, from their work in the community and with their parishioners to the provocative lives they lead away from the pulpit.
The series will launch on the NBCUniversal-owned cabler in the fall.
“Pastors of L.A. documents these larger than life characters who are rock stars in their communities, with a fresh, unique perspective that will resonate with our young audience,” said Rod Aissa, senior vp original programming and development, Oxygen Media. “By teaming up with Lemuel and Holly who are some of the best creative minds in the business and heavily respected within this community, we can deliver this authentic series with integrity, while also staying right on brand with Oxygen.”
The six pastors that will be featured are: Bishop Noel Jones, Deitrick Haddon, Bishop Clarence McClendon, Pastor Wayne Chaney, Bishop Ron Gibson and Pastor Jay Haizlip.
The news comes as religion-centric projects, both on the scripted and unscripted side, are proving to attract viewers -- especially on the cable. History Channel's monumental success with miniseries The Bible (which executive producer Mark Burnett is prepping for a theatrical release) has proven that there is a desire for faith-based programming. "We knew the subject area [was of interest to] our viewers and beyond," History executive vp development and programming Dirk Hoogstra told The Hollywood Reporter earlier this year.
In March, Lifetime debuted the Preacher's Daughters docu-series, which saw ratings rise its second week following the series debut. Though Rob Sharenow, executive vp programming at Lifetime Networks, admitted to THR that though religion is a part of American culture, there seems to be a surge on TV. "There have been several things that just seem to be popping right now," he observed. "It feels kind of natural to me. This is something that a lot of people understand and believe, and they like to see that reflected in the context of movies and TV shows."