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Jesus in Primetime

The Pastor's Apprentice? Mark Burnett believes in the reality TV star power of Joel Osteen

Pastor Joel Osteen
Joel Osteen Photo courtesy of Lakewood Church

Seven million people in 100 countries already watch Joel Osteen's permanently smiling face every Sunday morning from Lakewood Church, but now the Houston preacher is heading to primetime.

Mark Burnett, who has produced blockbuster reality shows including Survivor, The Apprentice and The Voice, is teaming up with Osteen for a mainstream network show to start in 2012, according to TMZ.

Burnett and his wife Roma Downey (you might remember her as the pretty, slightly Irish angel from Touched By An Angel) are said to be good friends of the Osteens, and Burnett has already tried his hand at religious programming with The Bible, a high-budget, 10-part miniseries set to air on The History Channel in 2013.

TMZ's tipsters say the Osteen/Burnett project will feature ordinary people taking time off to join Osteen on mission projects to "start fixing things" around the United States.

It sounds like the latest in do-gooder reality programming, a genre that includes Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Undercover Boss, Secret Millionaire, Three Wishes, and whatever my mom is watching on Oprah's network.

Can Osteen and company stand out from the pack? Let's just say we won't bet against him.

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