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New Reality Show Searches for Inspirational Speakers

The Learning Channel’s new eight-part reality series, “The Messengers,” begins this Sunday with a “simple yet lofty goal: to find America’s next great inspirational speaker.” Ten individuals from various backgrounds have been chosen to compete.

Its new eight-part reality series, “The Messengers,” begins this Sunday with a “simple yet lofty goal: to find <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags” />America’s next great inspirational speaker.” Ten individuals from various backgrounds have been chosen to compete.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office” />
 
Each episode centers around the contestants experiencing something new: homelessness, a disability, or what the show calls a “powerful moment of forgiveness between a man convicted of vehicular homicide and the deceased’s mother.”
 
At the end of the experience, the speakers are given a single word, like hope or perseverance, around which they must craft an inspirational message in the next 24 hours.
 
“The participants really have to walk the walk before they can talk the talk,” David Abraham, executive vice president and general manager for TLC, said in promotional materials at the show’s Web site.
 
The ten speakers then take turns delivering their messages before a studio audience and two panelists. The audience votes for its favorite speaker each episode (with the lowest vote-getter departing). The eventual winner garners a publishing deal and the chance to host a TLC special.
 
“What they see will change them. What they say will change you,” goes the marketing campaign.
 
The show’s two panelists are Richard Greene and Robert V. Schuller. Greene is a communication coach and commentator seen in TV coverage of high-profile events like the O.J. Simpson trial, Scott Petersen trial and the Clinton impeachment proceedings.
 
Schuller is the grandson of Robert H. Schuller, founder of the Crystal Cathedral, where the younger Schuller is pastor of emergent ministries.
 
All ten contestants already work in various public speaking fields, with most appearing to have a spiritual or religious interest. Contestants include a Jew, a Muslim and several Christians.
 
The first episode, “The Homeless Experience,” puts the ten contestants on the streets of downtown Los Angeles for 24 hours. Their speech theme: charity.
 
The show’s Web site includes a resource guide for each week’s theme. The guide includes Web sites for more information about the topic, links to charitable and volunteer opportunities, as well as books and movies on the subject.
 
“The Messengers” is produced by Original Productions, which also makes “Monster House,” “Monster Garage” and “The Deadliest Catch.”
 
Entertainment Weekly listed “The Messengers” as one of its “67 Shows You Can’t Miss” this summer.
 
“The Messengers” premieres Sunday, July 23 at 10 p.m. ET on The Learning Channel.
 
Cliff Vaughn is culture editor for EthicsDaily.com.
 
The show’s official TLC site is here. Watch a sneak peek here.
 
The show’s fan site is here.