Scientology is home to movie stars like Tom Cruise and John Travolta, but now the church is looking to make a move to the small screen s well.
The church has plans to start a religious broadcasting center near its headquarters in Hollywood, the London Telegraph reported. The center would occupy a nearly five-acre studio property that the Church of Scientology purchased from Los Angeles public television station KCET last year for $42 million.
With the television station Scientology would have a new avenue to promote its religion. Scientology, founded by science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard, is known for its use of media to promote its product, including pamphlets and books written by Hubbard and even late-night infomercials for the books.
“The church plans to establish a central media hub for our growing world network of churches and to move into the production of religious television and radio broadcasting,” Karin Pouw, a spokeswoman for Church of Scientology International, told the Telegraph.
The Telegraph speculated that Scientology’s television station could look something like Pat Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network or the Trinity Broadcasting Network. It would also take advantage of Scientology’s hub of talent across the entertainment industry focused in Los Angeles.
It also gives the notoriously media-controlling church a chance to present its story in its own way, Elayne Rapping, a pop-culture expert and professor of American studies at the University of Buffalo, told Reuters.
“Having their own TV is a good idea since they can spin things their way,” she said. “They are after good PR which they can control to offset the bad publicity surrounding them in other media.”
The timing could be perfect for Scientology, which has suffered some bad press at the hands of its most famous members. Tom Cruise’s divorce from Katie Holmes has unleashed a torrent of negative stories centered on Scientology, and John Travolta has been caught in allegations of sexually assaulting staff members and gay relationships.