Pat Robertson, the outspoken father of controversial Christian talk show The 700 Club, isn’t going anywhere, according to a new article from Vulture.
In 2001, Disney acquired Robertson’s network, which began as Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) and later morphed into The Family Channel. When Disney purchased it from Pat Robertson and Family, the sellers made sure that The 700 Club wouldn’t be going anywhere.
That is a contractual point that doesn’t appear to be making the House of Mouse very happy at present, especially since the Robertsons refused a $42.4 million buyout. The existing tension can be felt in two key actions — an official statement and what Disney/ABC Family (now Freeform) refuses to do.
First up, the statement, as reported by Vulture.
“The 700 Club will continue to air on Freeform. It was part of a longstanding agreement that was made when Disney first acquired the network.”
Additionally, Disney/ABC Family refuses to link to The 700 Club on its website.
Why the animosity?
An unnamed source with the company said that Pat Robertson does have a price, just that it is “astronomical,” and the aforementioned $42.4 million was as high as Disney/ABC Family was willing to go. When that was refused, the “ironclad” language kicked in ensuring that The 700 Club would stay on the network, no matter what form it took — even as Freeform.
Furthermore, the contract calls for The 700 Club to be shown “at a good time slot,” the source said.
“We thought we could negotiate it and give him a lot of money. But that was never [Robertson’s] intention,” the source continued in comments to TV Insider. “The language is ironclad. I don’t know what it would take at this point to get rid of it.”
Furthermore, it appears to be a family deal, so it isn’t something that will go away when Pat Robertson eventually dies. He’s 85 now.
Why is this such a big deal? Well, Disney has long been a friend to causes and people that Pat Robertson has deemed “satanic” and “evil.” Here are just a few of the broadcast legend’s greatest hits.
“Feminism is a socialist, anti-family, political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians.”
“Many of those people involved in Adolf Hitler were Satanists, many were homosexuals – the two things seem to go together.”
“God created the world; the laws of nature were created by God. True science tries to find out what God put in the world. The trouble is where scientists speculate about theology and they don’t know what they’re talking about because they weren’t there. They can’t speculate about the origins of life because they weren’t there.”
“I know one man who was impotent who gave AIDS to his wife and the only thing they did was kiss.”
Pat Robertson also indicated following a deadly 7.0 earthquake that Haiti was “cursed” for selling itself to the Devil a long time ago, and told a school district in Pennsylvania that had decided to teach only evolution in science classes not to turn to God “if there was a disaster in their area” because they had given up the privilege.
More in this NSFW video.
It’s a tough situation for a network with progressive values to be in, but as Vulture points out in the piece linked above, it is not going to change any time soon. Pat Robertson will go on enjoying a cushy time slot for The 700 Club and have a platform to espouse values against those of his network.
What do you think about Pat Robertson on Freeform — good programming or out of place? Sound off in the comments section below.
[Image of Pat Robertson via Flickr Creative Commons]