The next big reality TV star just might be a priest

He’s Father Steve Porter, from California (of course!) and he’s getting a lot of buzz for a series now in development.

From a press release on the program:

The Rev. Steve Porter of St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church and Derek Christopher of Lighthouse Blues Productions have spent the last year filming, editing and pitching a reality TV series tentatively titled “Divine Intervention with Father Steve” to big-time networks like A&E, History, Discovery, TLC, truTV and more.

Networks like A&E and truTV have taken discussions to the highest levels, but as the show waits for a green light from a network, Christopher has taken the project to the popular funding site Kickstarter to assist in shooting a new round of stories in January. “Our show is unusual in that we’ve signed three major production deals and have had every major cable network tell us they love the show, but they’re all afraid of taking that final leap of faith of putting the show on the air.” According to Christopher, anything with hint of religion is still considered taboo on mainstream television. However, with a backlog of stories waiting to be filmed, Christopher has decided to continue production independently as a 10-episode web series until a network television deal is confirmed.

The show has received widespread mainstream media attention including a feature story on NBC News in Los Angeles, a front-page article in The Sun newspaper (San Bernardino’s biggest newspaper) and more.

Porter acknowledges that his methods may not endear him to Christian viewers who expect to hear only Bible-based preaching to the unconverted. In fact, Christopher says that the show has had such traction with network executives because, “It’s not a religious show. It’s an entertainment show that just happens to star a Catholic Priest.” Father Steve adds, “The Bible is very important, but there’s more to life than Scriptures. And I know evangelicals will go crazy when they hear me say that.”

Read more. The curious can visit the good padre’s Kickstarter fundraising page for more info.  Meantime, check out the preview clip below.

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Comments

  1. Oregon Catholic says:

    I’m someone who largely disdains “reality” TV as shallow, scripted, and narcissistic blather. But if this gets on the air I sure hope he doesn’t mislead people about what a priest does. The entertainment vs religion angle is curious.

  2. Mark LaVergne says:

    Thanks for sharing this, Deacon Greg. Looks like we’re seeing a lot of good people lately emerging on the electronic media and new media and representing the faith well, including Fr. Robert Barron of the Archdiocese of Chicago and Jesuit Father James Martin and many others (including Deacon Greg!). And of course we have EWTN and NET and other networks. As for “Father Steve” and a reality TV show, though, we’ll have to see how that works out :-) I appreciate the sentiments expressed by “Oregon Catholic.” While we all welcome an honest representation of the faith in the media, we want to avoid supporting anything that misleads others about Catholicism or distorts who and what we are.

    One would hope, too, that Father Steve Porter is coordinating with his Bishop on this and reaching out and getting help from others in the Church, especially those with prior experience in TV. If it turns out to be an honest representation, then it could be quite a blessing and reach new people in a meaningful way.

  3. So I thought that priest with a focus on themselves was bad like Father Pavone or Father John Corapi. Seems like this priest in dress and focus away from the Catholic Church is way out there compared to Father Pavone.

    Not sure the message he is giving to this girl if she is Catholic on how to get back to Christ and His Church. “It’s not a religious show. It’s an entertainment show that just happens to star a Catholic Priest.” How is he doing the work of a priest and why is he not serving in a parish and content to do the work of a parish priest. That was the massive hits on Corapit and Father Pavone.

  4. But he IS a parish priest in the Diocese of San Bernardino.

  5. It is nice to see a Catholic Priest out there providing pastoral support to people who are suffering or who are questioning. I have always felt that this type of “missionary” work needs to be done close to home. But I am uncomfortable watching these intimate moments of people in pain. I feel like I am intruding. How is this entertainment? But perhaps the only way to get the Gospel message to people today is to wrap it into a reality show.

  6. I’m on the fence on this, also in agreement with Oregon Catholic. I truly loathe reality shows, albeit mostly because they are so exploitive and humiliating which I doubt this would be.

    On the other hand, much to be said for “meeting the sheep where they are.” The irony of it all is that if it is as popular as it appears to be, the big aha is that parish priests are available for us 24/7 if we need them, for one or one or confession. Other than the TV cameras, I see this as not much differnent than what any good parish priest would do for any of us; sort of like taking the priest out of the parish to the people who never make it to the chruch.

    Who knows, maybe that’s what it has come do, and this is the work of the Holy Spirit.

  7. Deacon Greg Kandra says:

    “Not sure the message he is giving to this girl if she is Catholic on how to get back to Christ and His Church.”

    I don’t think any of us can make that judgment based on a 10-second burp from a two-minute ad designed to milk emotions.

    And regarding your other complaints, “Mark,” it appears he is doing the work of a parish priest, and the cameras were filming him doing that. (It’s anybody’s guess whether he’s any good at it.) The hits on Corapi and Pavone went far beyond that.

    Honestly, “Mark,” sometimes your comments are so shallow, narrow-minded and judgmental, I’d almost think you were a Democrat. ;-)

    Dcn. G.

  8. Wow, that is a low blow. Calling one a Democrat.
    Thought that many of the Pavone bashers would take issue with this comment. Pavone was on a mission to save 4000 babies a day from slaughter and this priest in his hawaian shirt saying his program was “not a religious show” shows a pretty strong contrast between two priests in my view. But some like the touchy feely kind of thing that liberals love. Rarely accomplishes much, but makes them feel better. I would be more impressed if he was being a priest and trying to help them on the path to change and getting into heaven. But frankly, you are right, it is a short clip, and from that we do not know what he said to the girl later on abortion. Hopefully he gave her instructions on a path into grace and reconcilliation with Christ.

  9. Barbara you have hit on a point that made me uncomfortable watching this. I felt like it was an instrusion on those amoung us with very large needs and it just seemed this priest in his wild shirts was in some ways taking advantage of them by filming something which should better have been done in private. This did not seem to priestly to me. I think it would have gone over better for me if he was dressed like St Francis.

  10. Mark
    We have found common ground – we actually agree on something!!!!
    Happy New Year!!!!
    Barbara P

  11. Here’s hoping that it shows a good man doing good work.

    [Edited to remove cheap, gratuitous slur. -- Ed.]

  12. I know Fr. Steve – He’s my spiritual director for the last 8+/- years. He works hard in his parish and has never EVER given me any counsel that was not in full keeping with the Magisterium. My spiritual direction involves tons of Scripture and he is tough on not allowing me to soft-soap selfishness or sin. I personally prefer the black clerics because that’s what I was raised on in the 50′s and 60′s. But if the Hawaiian shirts open the door to the hearts of those who fear (or don’t trust) the Church and her priests…so be it. I agree that touting the show as entertainment could be misleading but again, we live in a culture addicted to distraction and entertainment; like Christ, don’t we need to go into the streets, eat with sinners, and invite them to come follow us? As my mom always said, people WILL judge you by your apperance, and she is right. But there’s a balance to that found in Scripture: Man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart.

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