Keeping It Real?

More people than not, would be apt to take issue with the idea of their first lady (pastor’s wife) as the subject of a reality TV show. Not that there isn’t a great deal of curiosity surrounding their lives or any doubting the growing clout they have on today’s church scene.

Consider, for example, the fact that those like Taffy Dollar, Betty Price, Victoria Osteen and Serita Jakes are celebrities in their own right with a loyal following of women (and men) who buy their books, watch them on TV, sign up for their cruises, and flock to hear them speak. And like celebrities, for many like Victoria Osteen, the role means never being able to go grocery shopping without someone watching what your wearing or putting in your cart.

Until recently, this arena has been for the most part unchartered territory—a close knit group of tight-lipped women, whose activities had been under the radar. Except for events like L.A. Focus’ First Ladies High Tea, which launched 15 years ago and Lois Evans’ annual First Lady Conference, they are women who went largely unnoticed except within their own churches and denominations given, of course, their husband’s status.

That was before reality television and a string of shows like Real Housewives of Atlanta, Mob Wives, Sister Wives and Basketball Wives sparked what many believe to be an unhealthy appetite for going behind the curtain into the “somewhat unscripted” lives of those whose lives people had a curiosity about. And come next month that will mean TV cameras in the homes of preacher’s wives.

A handful of scripts pitching preacher wives reality shows hit the reality TV circuit last year followed by unofficial reports that BET, OWN and the Gospel Music Channel were interested. Lifetime requisitioned a pilot and then came news that T&C and True Entertainment (the people who brought you “The Real Housewives Of Atlanta”) were adding a preacher’s wives reality show to their lineup.

Not that there isn’t plenty of drama that goes on in churches today.  Just last year, a Memphis pastor was accused of trying to run down his estranged wife with his $150,000 Bentley. The same wife, he sought an injunction from, to keep her from coming to church. But the drama is hardly limited to black churches or the U.S. for that matter. Seemed the whole nation of Singapore was caught up in the drama of Sun Ho, a pastor’s wife whose husband was said to have misappropriated close to $62.5 million in church monies to fund her pop music career.

That said, most don’t want to see their first ladies or pastor’s wives caught up in the petty pursuits and issues that make reality TV go round as witnessed by the majority of responses on People.com to the sneak preview of TLC’s The Sisterhood. Of course, all of those involved say that they will treat the subject matter with the utmost respect and that the shows are docudramas as opposed to your standard reality TV fare. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

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