EWTN has a wide reach of international and domestic viewers, and I’m a huge fan. I especially love shows like The Journey Home and the Mother Angelica classics. Raymond Arroyo is a brilliant reporter and interviewer – I can’t forget to mention him.
The issue with EWTN, in my humble opinion, is that their programming is almost exclusively designed for Catholic viewers. The evangelization potential would be greatly increased if EWTN started producing scripted content that attracted than more than just religiously-minded viewers. In the first Vatican document devoted to the motion picture industry, Pius XI writes on the perfection of video programing:
“They will win the approbation and the approval of all right thinking men, Catholic and non-Catholic, and they will help to assure that a great international force – the motion picture – shall be directed towards the noble end of promoting the highest ideals and the truest standards of life.” – Vigilanti Cura, 1929
In addition to this, there’s a large age-gap in programming. I feel that EWTN is not exactly geared to programing expectations/demands of my generation. The shows above which I named are great, but there’s a lot of room for improvement. And I do understand the desire to please donors. Believe it or not, millennials are potentially the most generous generation of donors, and I think those reading this would agree: you have to give us something we can experience!
Aside from that, I’m sick and tired of cable/satellite TV. It’s junk food, and a giant like EWTN is capable of very wholesome and spiritually nutritious programming. If we’re all tired of the garbage on TV, why don’t we just make our own shows? Here are just a few ideas to get the gang at EWTN thinking (and yes, I’m asking for a job):
BYUtv, a religiously-minded network who has gained acclaim for their scripted shows, has gained millions of views on YouTube for their sketch comedy show StudioC. If the Mormon channel can produce a quality sketch comedy show, why can’t the Catholic channel? And seriously, there’s some funny Catholics out there that would love to audition (ahem…).
For several years,
the nation the world has been captivated by Game of Thrones. Based on the George R. R. Martin books of the same name, Game of Thrones has become one of the most popular TV shows ever. Yet, some have been deterred by what IMDB describes as “extreme scenes of strong bloody and brutal graphic violence involving gore and rape, explicit sexual content involving graphic sex and nudity, frightening images and strong language.” Don’t we think we can produce a historical drama (even if it’s fiction) – say about the Reformation or the adventures of Francis of Assisi – with an epic cast and direction? I think we can, and I’d tune in every night. I think Bishop Barron agrees.
I call dibs on doing this at epicPew! But really, I’d love to see anybody do it. The idea is simple: review what’s going on in the Catholic world and add wholesome, interesting, hilarious commentary. Ever seen Tosh.0 or RayWilliamJohnson? That’s what I’m thinking but cleaner, and Catholic-er. EWTN, I would love to do this! But really, I’m asking for a job here 🙂
Reality TV, when it’s unscripted, raw, and honest, can be addictive and brilliant. We already know the success of The Sisterhood: Becoming Nuns produced by Lifetime. It received RAVE reviews from numerous prominent Catholic voices which begs the question: why isn’t a Catholic media source producing this? There could be a show based on a group of seminarians, a show that follows the life of the Swiss Guard, or a group of missionaries in Africa. OH! Perfect idea: a documentary/reality show about Pope Emeritus Benedict; could simply be called “Father Benedict”. I’m spitballing, but this is TV Catholics and non-Catholics would tune in for with popcorn in hand.
This is not a specific show idea, but right now, there is no live-feed of current EWTN programming. A life feed to ETWN programming on an app or online would bring in my generation, millennials, no question. Please, fund this now! GOOD NEWS, I was wrong – EWTN DOES have a live streaming service. It’s super simple: check it out here.
I want to see more Vatican homilies. I want to see the Synod sessions! Don’t you? So why not put a camera on a tripod in the back of the room and steam the event? It doesn’t even have to be the Vatican – it could be the USCCB making decisions that affect the faithful, or a live Mass, or the Canonization of the next saint. People, right now, are going to several different sources to find this information when they could watch it for themselves. Take this quote from Pius XII’s Miranda Prorsus:
“It is well known to Us with what deep interest vast numbers of spectators gaze at television programmes of Catholic events.”
Good idea, right?
Why are we not funding this? The Jim Gaffigan show, again, is a resounding success that addresses so many issues in daily life and 21st century culture. Shows like Friends and How I Met Your Mother are ridiculously simple but are among the highest rated shows of all time. Why not produce a show like this? Again, if we’re tired of the garbage on TV, why don’t we provide some alternatives?
A cooking show, seriously
The Vatican Cookbook is one of the bestselling books on Amazon for a reason: food is an experience. There’s a reason “breaking bread” is akin to fellowship and so is cooking. A daytime show with a superb host who can serious cook and tell stories about Church history, conversion, etc., would be epic. I learned after publishing this that EWTN DOES have a cooking show and it’s great. It’s called Savoring Our Faith (brilliant name) and it’s really great. It stars Fr. Leo Patalinghug who is a sweet man of the collar. You can check out episodes and recipes here. Here’s a sample:
Canon Law. Just kidding.
OH! I just got a name for the sitcom: Canon In-laws. JK. Dad joke points… But really, let’s brainstorm and gather some epic ideas for new programing.