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The TV Show That's Taking Over the World: The Chosen

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb
The Truth Network Radio
November 9, 2023 3:02 am

The TV Show That's Taking Over the World: The Chosen

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb

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November 9, 2023 3:02 am

On this episode of Our American Stories, Hollywood giants are ramping up new "faith arms" - and this tectonic shift has begun with an amazing success story of crowdfunding and a creative culture grounded in the Bible.

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To learn more about Nissan's electric vehicle lineup, visit And we're back with our American stories. The Chosen is an historical television series completely adapted from the Bible, staying true to the details of the text in the New Testament, the show follows the birth, life, and death of Jesus Christ. Dallas Jenkins, creator, director, and co-writer of The Chosen, came up with the concept of the series once he realized there had never been a multi-season show based on the life of Jesus. Today, The Chosen has over 110 million unique viewers and is a truly global phenomenon.

Joining us with a little more on the show and faith content in Hollywood is The Chosen's vice president of original content, Katherine Warnock. Faith content for the longest time was just a niche market. It was a subset, if you will, of content creation. It was never a core fundamental tent pole within the Hollywood system.

And now it's becoming truly viable within the system. The funny thing is I'm a high school teacher who God interrupted my life and said, No, I want you to go work in Hollywood. And I had to remind him I've had no training. I don't know anything about Hollywood. And he just promised that the multiplication of the talents are real if we're just faithful.

And boy, has he kept his word. And so for the last 20 years, I have climbed through kind of the back alleys and the back doors of Hollywood to what many might say is the top. I'm helping to collaboratively steer one of the biggest brands in the world. My passion has been the evolution of faith content at MGM. I worked under Mark Burnett and Roma Downey, who I look to as kind of my generation, the mother and father of faith content.

Not only has Mark had huge success with The Survivor, The Voice, Hands Made Tail. He is one of the greatest producers of our time, but he also loves Jesus. And he and his wife, Roma Downey, who she was the lead actress of Touched by an Angel, I had the privilege of working under them and seeing their fight to really make and carve out a place for faith content within the traditional Hollywood system. So I feel so much of The Chosen has been able to kind of climb on their shoulders, climb on the shoulders of the Irwin brothers and so many others that have fought hard to really make a place for faith content in Hollywood.

The Chosen started as a just side project that Dallas Jenkins, the creator of The Chosen, did with one of our writers Tyler Thompson for his church in Illinois. It was a Christmas special, and it was called The Shepherd. And The Shepherd went organically viral on its own, and it became the basis and the pilot episode for The Chosen. I actually was head of faith and family content at MGM film studios at the time, and I watched it and I immediately was so blown away. I had never seen anything like it. I watched the entire episode, which is unheard of in Hollywood. In Hollywood, we normally will watch something for five seconds and then we'll X out.

I watched the entire episode. I immediately emailed Mark Burnett and Roma Downey at MGM, and I said, you have to acquire this. It will take over the world. And what started is just a side church project in a rock quarry in Illinois has turned into a global phenomenon television series. We started as a crowdfunded project, completely crowdfunded by about 19,000 investors, and that got us through season one. And from there, we became a pay-it-forward model, completely funded and fan-supported. Individuals literally paid it forward so that this TV show can remain free for people all around the world.

And that is what single-handedly funded The Chosen. We're still completely fan-supported in how we are produced. We have seen this show make it into every country in the world. We have over 600 million views. We are on pace to have 600 translations of the series to go around the world.

To put that in perspective, the previous record holder was Baywatch at I think about 36 translations. It's extraordinary seeing what's happening with The Chosen. It's redefining so many elements of how productions are made in Hollywood. What has made The Chosen so great and so universally accepted and watched globally so quickly, it's because of the community element. So to be a part of the evolution happening in Hollywood is extraordinary.

To be part of the evolution of faith content around the world truly has been a life goal, and to see that continue to evolve and come to fruition is an honor and a privilege. I always say that we love The Chosen because of Dallas and the writers and the cast and the production value. We love the content, but we've only heard of the content because of Daryl Eves. He's the co-founder of The Chosen. I call him the godfather of YouTube. He helped to create the likes of MrBeast and many other viral YouTube content creators, and his passion and his genius is building community around brands, around content. He's brilliant, and so he put at the core foundations of The Chosen the community element and the community piece, and we have fought tooth and nail to keep it front and center of The Chosen. That is why The Chosen was able to go global as quickly as it went without the traditional Hollywood support was because of this community element, and it's hugely encouraging to see Hollywood now asking, how do we do this?

How do we build communities around our content? Because they see that it's been a viable model. Major studios are now evolving and revving up Faith Limbs because they understand this is far more than just a niche market.

This is an overwhelmingly global market who are showing up to the box office and are showing up to SVODs to watch content that speaks to their worldview, their value systems. We have a profoundly rich culture internally that deeply seeks after God and is very transparent with one another, not only do we collaboratively operate and collaboratively seek what is the right move, but we hold each other accountable to the authenticity of our brand. And that's what I admire so profoundly about Dallas is he is unwavering in holding to the fact that our only job is to bring our loaves and our fish, and it's God's job to do the rest.

He's unwavering in that belief system. It is weaved into every single decision we make at The Chosen. So that's how we get through the hard. The good are the amazing testimonies that come in every single day. We get to see the impact of our blood, sweat and tears played out on a global scale. But more than that, in individual lives, we see suicides averted on the daily because of this show. We see transformations. We see people be able to get off drugs or alcohol.

We see people finding the Lord on their deathbed because of the show. The gamut is run with the amount of amazing testimonies we get to see. And that is just such a kindness of the Lord's that in the struggle we see the fruit. We're able to keep a lens on eternity instead of the troubles of the here and now or even the successes of the here and now. It truly is about the eternal focus. What I love most about The Chosen is that you have every sect of society gathering around a TV show.

You have Hindus, you have Buddhists, you have Muslims, you have Jews, you have Charismatics, you have Evangelicals, Catholics, Presbyterians, Baptists, Atheists, Agnostics, even Satanists watching the show, loving the show and their lives being transformed by the show. Many of them meeting Jesus, coming to Jesus because of the show. There was a 93-year-old man, bedridden, sent home on hospice to die and his daughter was taking care of him. He was bitter. He was angry.

He didn't know Jesus. And she took, you know, a captive audience to a whole other level when she put The Chosen on a TV show in front of her bedridden father. And she went into the other room and was doing work when shortly after she hears weeping in the other room. So she goes into the other room and she sees her 93-year-old bedridden father standing in front of the television, touching the television, his face pressed to the television, weeping. It's the scene of Nicodemus and Jesus chatting on the rooftop and Jesus telling Nicodemus, you need to be born again. He hears her come in and he looks to her and he says, how do I get this?

How do I get this? Right then and there, she leads him to Jesus. Two weeks to the day of that happening, he passes away. But she said, instead of darkness and heaviness and depression and death raining over my father's life those last two weeks, he knew a joy and he knew a peace. She says, we laughed and we had so much fun. There was such life flowing throughout my house that when my father had a profound last two weeks of his life and she said, instead of mourning upon his death, we as a family were able to rejoice because we knew he was home with Jesus. And that just left me in tears. That's the life I get to live.

That's what I get to do for a living. So thank you, Jesus, and may it continue. And a terrific job on the editing, production, and storytelling by our own Madison Derricotte. And a special thanks to Catherine Warnock. And what a story about how The Chosen got made, how it got distributed, the lives impacted. And that last story being witnessed by a TV series and coming to the Lord. The story of the story behind The Chosen here on Our American Stories. Crypto is like finance, but different.

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Whisper: medium.en / 2023-11-09 04:39:21 / 2023-11-09 04:44:41 / 5

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