In an era of reality television, audiences can watch almost anything—from real-life housewives to young New Jersey partygoers to a high-stakes weight-loss competition. Now pastors are joining in on the action.
Oxygen Media has recently given the green light for a new show with the working title Pastors of L.A., an “authentic docu-series” set to premiere this fall.
The series will feature Bishop Noel Jones, Deitrick Haddon, Bishop Clarence McClendon, pastor Wayne Chaney, Bishop Ron Gibson and pastor Jay Haizlip.
“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,” explains Rod Aissa, Oxygen Media's senior vice president of original programming and development.
A press release says the show “will give viewers a candid and revealing look at six boldly different and world-renowned mega-pastors in Southern California, who are willing to share diverse aspects of their lives—from their work in the community and with their parishioners to the very large and sometimes provocative lives they lead away from the pulpit.”
The television network has teamed up with Lemuel Plummer, the creator and executive producer of Vindicated and producer of The Sheards, and Holly Carter, creator and executive producer of 106 & Gospel and executive producer of The Sheards, for the new series.
“We are delighted to work with Oxygen to develop this groundbreaking series on the extraordinary lives of some of the most prominent pastors in America,” Plummer says. “I come to this project with a respect and understanding of their world, having grown up as the son of a pastor and religious broadcasters. We intend to portray the human side of these pastors and the real world in which they live and work.”
Carter, an industry veteran in faith and inspirational development and programming who holds a doctorate in divinity and is the daughter of a pastor, adds: “This show documents a journey of transparency from one man to the next as they endeavor to lead others to their own truth and self-discovery. It’s a dose of reality and a pound of redemption coming from a creative team reared in the church.”
Jones, the brother of famed actress and singer Grace Jones, is the lead pastor of Refuge Church in Gardena, Calif. His 17,000-member megachurch is said to be home to several celebrities. The 63-year-old pastor is headed toward retirement and looking for a successor.
Haddon—a singer, songwriter, producer and former pastor—was shunned by Kingdom Culture Church in Detroit when he divorced from his wife, Damita, in 2011. He surprised fans when he revealed this year that he fathered a child out of wedlock and was engaged to be married.
“She did get pregnant before my divorce was final, as my divorce carried on for over a year,” Haddon wrote on his Facebook page, saying they both repented of their sins and have submitted to spiritual leadership. “I have not preached on any platform in any church for one year!! I’ve paid my penalty for my sin!!” he said.