‘The Chosen’ S4 Has Arrived on Streaming (and in Hollywood)

‘The Chosen’ S4 Has Arrived on Streaming (and in Hollywood) May 29, 2024

A man in a tee shirt sits at a podcast micorophone, doing a livestream broadcast.

On May 21, The Chosen creator Dallas Jenkins did a press conference with faith-based journalists. He couldn’t yet announce the end of the Gospels-based historical drama’s arbitration with original distributor Angel Studios or when the Season 4 episodes would finally land on The Chosen app.

Might have taken one day longer than God needed to create the Earth in Genesis, but we finally have an answer.

The Chosen Season 4 Is Back on Its App

More on what I asked Jenkins in a bit — and why I’m having an interesting hit of synchronicity — but I won’t make you wait. Here’s what landed in my inbox earlier today:

The creators of the series The Chosen are pleased to announce that Season 4 will be available to the public for streaming on Sunday, June 2, at 7 p.m. ET. As always, each episode will launch with global livestreams on social media and The Chosen app. Following each livestream, Season 4 episodes will be available exclusively in The Chosen app before coming to other viewing platforms later this year.

Episode one of Season 4 will be available for streaming beginning on Sunday, June 2. The second episode will be available on the following Thursday, June 6 at 8:30 p.m. ET, with ensuing episodes released on Sundays at 7 p.m. ET and Thursdays at 8:30 p.m. ET over the course of four weeks.

In the end, Jenkins said the arbitrator found Angel Studios in breach of its original contract with the producers of The Chosen.

UPDATE 6/3: The series is also airing on cablenet BYUtv and streaming via the channel’s app and website. From the inbox: We are happy to announce that BYUtv is the ONLY streaming service and broadcast network streaming season 4 of “The Chosen” 24 hours after the “The Chosen” app, starting on Monday, June 3 at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT, with linear broadcasts airing each succeeding Sunday at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.

Also, per Deadline, The CW has picked up Season 4 as well. The broadcast network has already aired the first three seasons of the show. No announcement yet when the show will start airing on The CW.

In a long livestream released today (it’s embedded at the bottom of this post), Jenkins gave Angel all credit for helping to get the show off the ground, then said:

Of course, the situation is still ongoing. I can’t give you all the details, and I don’t know exactly what the future holds in regards to Angel, but here’s what it means in the short term. Season four will only be available in the Chosen app, or on DVD.

This Sunday night episode one will launch as a live stream on The Chosen‘s social media pages, and the Chosen app, and then it will be available in the Chosen app exclusively for a window of time.

Jenkins also hoped to tamp down a lot of the negative online commentary, saying:

And the mind-reading, gossip and accusations about motive must stop. Both Angel and The Chosen want this show to reach over a billion people, and both of us want the show to be sustainable.

We just obviously have significant differences of opinion on how to do that, and what our future should be. Good people can disagree, and it’s what makes what about to say very sad, and not something I take any pleasure in.

This Is Where Things Get Complicated

In the livestream, Jenkins went into a detailed description of how the show is funded.

It’s complicated, but the short version is, the production costs weren’t paid for in a traditional way.

For the early seasons, through an innovative equity-crowdfunding scheme, Angel solicited millions in investment funds, along with paying royalties, to get the show launched, and acted as a distributor.

But, it was not the production company that actually made the show — and was ultimately responsible for coming up with the dough to do it going forward. That was Jenkins and his partners.

In the livestream Jenkins said:

But this show is year-round every day. And not only am I the co-writer, director and producer of a big show, but I’m the co-founder, chief creative officer and chairman of the board of our large company, as well as our live streamer.

In case you were wondering, this is not normally how it works. Showrunners usually get a budget from a studio, network or streamer and then go make the show. They’re not expected to rustle up cash in addition to everything else.

The Chosen‘s production budget now primarily comes from the Come and See Foundation, a nonprofit organized in 2022 (primarily by deep-pocketed Evangelicals) to accept donations and regularize the show’s funding.

Jenkins said that funding to support the company that produces the show comes from licensing agreements and merch.

But What About All the Other Places You Can See The Chosen?

Some or all of the show’s first three seasons can be seen in a variety of places, including Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, Peacock and, last year, in their entirety on broadcast network The CW (more on how all that happened here, in my interview with The CW head Brad Schwartz).

All that came about either through Angel’s efforts or under studio Lionsgate’s worldwide sub-licensing rights deal, which allows it to distribute the show outside of the exclusive app-streaming windows.

Said Jenkins:

Well, eventually season four will be available additionally on some other platforms, and other broadcasters here, and around the world, but those dates aren’t set yet.

During the press conference, he also alluded to what might really make the show some money — licensing it exclusively to one streamer (more lucrative than several non-exclusive deals).

In the press conference, he said:

So it’s going to be on The Chosen app first, but we are also in discussions about potentially an exclusive relationship with a streamer where it could potentially be available, future seasons available solely in, not only in The Chosen app, but in that other streaming platform after that first window or potentially in their own first window.

It’s All About the Benjamins — and That’s Just the Reality of TV

Obviously, the show is expensive to produce, and like any show, gets more expensive over time, as production quality, costs and salaries increase.

People got to get paid  — not the least of which is star Jonathan Roumie, who plays Jesus, whose had just about hit financial rock bottom when the show came along.

So, those who want to continue to watch the show for free on The Chosen app may have to get in line after paying customers in the future.

In the livestream, Jenkins said:

The Chosen will continue to be free forever. It might not always be free first, like, seasons might come out, and first be available in theaters, or in another platform for a time potentially. We’ll see how the future goes, but The Chosen will always eventually be free.

Back to My Moment of Synchronicity

In the press conference, Jenkins addressed my question, which was, “Has your success made it impossible for the mainstream entertainment press to not cover The Chosen and other Christian entertainment?”

What sparked this was seeing a steady stream of positive (if a little puzzled) stories about the show, Jenkins and Roumie, in industry trade publications and such unlikely places as The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic and The New Yorker

Jenkins said:

They’re still slow. The industry trades are a little bit quicker because to them they’re seeing something that’s clearly growing in their space, and so they’re interested in that. I honestly don’t care. I mean, it’s really not up to me, but we are seeing slowly but surely, more and more people embrace this.

Today, when the news arrived in my inbox, I was actually reading a new, long, thoughtfully written profile of Jenkins in The Hollywood Reporter, by veteran writer James Hibberd, complete with cool photos. It appeared originally in the publication’s print edition, and that’s a bigger deal than a purely online story.

And, as soon as the news broke, Hibberd quickly turned over another THR story. Quoting himself, Hibberd wrote:

The news comes as THR releases an extensive sit-down interview with Jenkins, who details the origin of the series, his response to some of the show’s controversies, his plans for the most devastating crucifixion sequence in filmic history, and his plans for potential spinoffs, prequels and sequels to The Chosen.

“One of the most exciting things is that so many people tell us they’re into the show in the same way they’re into Marvel or DC,” Jenkins says. “But we didn’t do it cynically — ‘Let’s create a Marvel experience and find content that fits.’ It started with the content.”

Jenkins might not care that the mainstream entertainment media is covering the show. After all, he’s got Someone more important to answer to.

But, as a journalist who used to work in that realm, this attention is unusual. Trust me, most entertainment reporters would avoid talking about faith-based stuff if they could.

Like Jesus Himself over the last two millennia, though, sometimes you get just too big to ignore.

Here’s Jenkins’ livestream:

And the Season 4 trailer:

Image: Dallas Jenkins, The Chosen/Screenshot

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About Kate O'Hare
Based in Los Angeles, Kate O'Hare is a veteran entertainment journalist, Social Media Content Manager for Family Theater Productions and a rookie screenwriter. You can read more about the author here.
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