11:38am PT by Mikey O'Connell
Scientology Poised to Launch TV Network
The Church of Scientology is getting its own TV network.
The controversial group, headed by David Miscavige, is poised to launch a channel on DirectTV and platforms Apple TV and Roku on Monday.
Evidence of the network is already on Apple's app store, where "Scientology TV" is available for download from The Church of Scientology International. Running the app reveals a placeholder announcement that content will officially launch at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. P.T. There's also a newly launched Twitter account, with first updates coming early Sunday morning, pointing to a website that doesn't yet appear to be up and running.
Both the Church of Scientology and a DirecTV spokesperson confirmed the Monday launch. A promo video indicates the network will occupy the satellite service's channel 320 (currently infomercials).
Rumblings about a Scientology network gained heat in early 2017, with several rumors about the impending launch running on the website of longtime Scientology chronicler Tony Ortega. A Sunday post about the looming launch made mention of a Miami billboard plugging the network.
The likelihood of some sort of Scientology outlet seemed like an inevitability in 2016, when the church announced the launch of its own studio with Scientology Media Productions. A network was initially said to be launching on Spectrum, but the cable company denied such plans.
Although it represents a significant investment for the group, this is not the first time Scientology has used TV as a recruitment tool. The church annually drops millions on a 30-second commercial during the Super Bowl, something it ran for the sixth consecutive year last month. Like the latest ad, branding for the network comes with the same "Curious?" tagline.
It's not immediately clear what type of content the network will run, or who from the church's deep bench of famous members may be enlisted for the programming, but the app references live streaming and "full episodes of your favorite shows."
Scientology TV comes at a time where the controversial church has seen a spate of high-profile projects attempting to discredit it with accusations of abuses from former members and their family members. Alex Gibney's documentary Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief won a Peabody and three Emmys, and A&E has made headlines with its serial exposé on the church, Scientology and the Aftermath, from former member Leah Remini.