Is the Church of Scientology about to launch its own TV network? It certainly seems that way. An as-yet-unverified Twitter account called Scientology Network has an announcement video for Scientology.TV, which is launching tomorrow, March 12 on DirecTV, AppleTV, Roku, fireTV, Chromecast, iTunes, and Google Play. That suggests that the Network will be an over-the-top service in the vein of Netflix rather than a cable channel.
“The only thing more interesting than what you’ve heard is what you haven’t,” claims the video produced by the controversial religion, which counts such high-profile celebrities as Tom Cruise and John Travolta among its ranks. Scientology has been at the center of ongoing scandals related to what its members can and cannot do, as well as how it deals with former devotees like Leah Remini, who has been highly critical of the Church since leaving it.
“We’re focused on one purpose, which is to preserve the purpose of Dianetics and Scientology,” says a man featured in the announcement video. “It’s actually making a difference in the world. That’s what it’s all about,” adds a woman.
A Scientology channel has been rumored since the organization purchased a nearly five-acre studio in Los Angeles’ Los Feliz neighborhood for $42 million from public TV station KCET (which downsized to smaller offices in Burbank) in 2011.
Scientology poured millions more into the run-down studio to re-open it as Scientology Media Productions. Scientology leader David Miscavige called the studio an “uncorrupted communication line to the billions” in a press release. “If you don’t write your own story, someone else will. So, yes, we’re now going to be writing our story, like no other religion in history. And it’s all going to happen right here from Scientology Media Productions.”
Officially opening the facility in 2016, Miscavige at the time revealed Scientology’s goals, which included “our own radio station, our own TV channel, and our own broadcasting facilities.”
According to the organization, “Scientology Media Productions [is] capable of producing multiple television programs at the same time — whether it be live news broadcasts or pre-recorded programs featuring aspects of Scientology technology, or Church-sponsored humanitarian initiatives. This wide range of programming is the anchor content for the Church’s 24/7 television network.”
It’s probably no surprise that Scientology would aim to launch an on-demand service and TV channel, as the streaming age has allowed all sorts of groups to program their propaganda. The National Rifle Association, for example, has been in the news lately for its NRA TV channel, which pushes the lobbying group’s agenda, and Roku offers thousands of channels — which means virtually every interest, belief, hobby and organization is already covered.
That includes hundreds of religious offerings, including JW Broadcasting, which offers “movies and videos that build faith in God and the bible”; Trinity Broadcasting Networks, a popular religious outlet that has been broadcasting for decades; EWTN Global Catholic Network; the Believers Voice of Victory Network; Christian outlet Daystar; the Mormon Channel; Joyce Meyer Ministries; Muslim Television Ahmadiyya International; the Christian Broadcasting Network; End Time Prophecy Network; and God TV, which promises “world class prophetic, anointed, and cutting-edge Christian television.”
On DirecTV, the Scientology Network is replacing an infomercial channel (one of dozens on the service), which means it likely paid a fee to gain distribution on the satellite provider.
The official website features a countdown for the network’s official launch. As for what it will actually play, we’re assuming not “Battlefield Earth.”
three, two, one…HELLO WORLD, and greetings from Scientology Media Productions in Hollywood, CA!
It’s TIME for us to tell OUR story…
WELCOME to the SCIENTOLOGY NETWORK countdown to launch! pic.twitter.com/PCPaaW9M7c
— Scientology Network (@ScientologyTV) March 11, 2018