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TBN sees bright, innovative future as leader in faith-based television

by Dave Bohon, WDC Media News

From Trinity Broadcasting Network's humble beginnings in 1973 to its place today as the world's premier source for quality Christian programming has been nothing short of an awesome ride for Founders Paul and Jan Crouch. "All those years we knew we were watching a miracle in progress," recalls Paul, "but that miracle just keeps moving forward."

Now the world's largest Christian television network, TBN is carried by TV stations and cable systems to millions of homes across America and around the world.

"Along with that forward momentum has come a great deal of creative input that we think will keep TBN right on the cutting edge of television broadcasting for a long time," said Bob Higley, Vice President of Cable and Satellite Relations for TBN. "After decades of constructing studios and planting transmission towers worldwide, we've turned a huge corner and we're now committed to producing and featuring even more innovative and exclusive programming that will reach out and touch our broad base of viewers."

TBN continues to be the undisputed leader in producing original Christian programs, including gospel and contemporary Christian music concerts from the most popular artists, live coverage of major Christian events, and health and nutrition programs featuring the most up-to-date information and advice available from leading experts who take a faith-based approach to health and wellness.

TBN also features some of the most hard-hitting issue-driven shows in Christian broadcasting, like Primary Focus, a cutting-edge television news magazine that addresses contemporary issues the whole nation is talking about. "Primary Focus reports on the trends and events that shape our culture, and at the same time offers real-life accounts of hope and healing," explained Paul Crouch Jr., Vice President of Administration for TBN. "This is the type of quality TV that gets right to the heart of the human experience, and we're thrilled to have it as an integral part of our line-up."

One of the most recent additions to TBN's original lineup is Drive Thru History with Dave Stotts, a half-hour show that takes the viewer on a fast-paced and colorful ride to some of the world's most historically rich locales, offering a birdseye view of the people and events that shaped Western Civilization - and our own Christian faith. "While it's geared toward teens and young adults, many TBN viewers who are clearly not in that age group have told us Drive Thru History has become on of their new favorites," said Crouch.

TBN is also a recognized leader in the production of major Christian movies, including the highly acclaimed The Omega Code, the end-time thriller Six: The Mark Unleashed, starring Stephen Baldwin and David White, and one of Christian cinema's most ambitious projects yet, the magnificent epic One Night With the King, set for release in 2006 and featuring screen legends Peter O'Toole and Omar Shariff. "A lot of people are predicting this picture will become a movie classic," noted Crouch. "And why not? It has all the right elements. The story of Esther is one of the most beloved in the Bible, and one made for the big screen. It features two of the most honored screen actors of all time. And the film was produced by some of the best and brightest of today's independent film makers at GeneraXion Entertainment, a studio with close ties to TBN."

In addition to its own movies, TBN has partnered with Cloud Ten Pictures to bring its highly-popular end-time movie series "Left Behind," starring Kirk Cameron, to television. The thrilling end-time series continues with the third installment Left Behind: World at War, scheduled for release by Cloud Ten on October 21st.

And last July TBN aired the world broadcast premier of the highly acclaimed The Gospel of John - with no commercial interruptions. "TBN's numbers nearly doubled for that time slot," recalled TBN publicist Susan Zahn. "The network received thousands of e-mails and letters - many of those from first-time viewers."

"TBN has been providing this kind of family programming and morally-based entertainment for years now," said Higley. These Are the kinds of productions that accent the faith-based message that sets TBN apart."

Of course, in addition to all this cutting edge, innovative programming that's helping TBN blaze a broadcast trail in the 21st century, where would faith-based broadcasting be without TBN's tried-and-true flagship "Praise the Lord" program? "Praise the Lord continues to be one of our most popular shows," said Crouch, "and it's not difficult to understand why. It's like a little slice of small-town America every day - a friendly visit with neighbors on the front porch, and we're always talking about the most important thing in life, faith in God."

From all walks of life, notables from around the nation and world visit the "Praise the Lord" program to share their faith in God. Leading pastors from America's largest churches. Astronauts. Top professional athletes. War heroes. Movie stars. Music entertainers.

As it always has been "Praise the Lord" is broadcast "live" from TBN production facilities throughout the U.S. - including its newest Hollywood facility on the grounds of the legendary Hanna-Barbera Studios. "It's a joy to be in our new Hollywood facilities," said Crouch, "particularly in a setting with so much history. These studios were established by the famous animation team of William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, who produced many of the cartoons we all enjoyed as children."

Zahn noted that the contemporary Hollywood set is representative of the innovative steps TBN has taken for the future of faith-based broadcasting. "Just like TBN has transitioned its studios to this impressive new standard, everything it is doing in expanded programming and broadcast values represents a well-planned step to a new level of quality in Christian television."

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