The nation’s top faith-based satellite/cable channel — TBN — is refocusing to meet the evolving needs of its audience and will offer viewers “more than just pulpit ministry,” says its director of content and development.
The 50-year-old network will produce more programs like the nightly “Centerpoint” newscast, a weekly talk show with former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and a financial advice show by Dave Ramsey, said Tom Newman, TBN’s content boss for eight years.
Special programs featuring Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli and British adventurer Bear Grylls are attractive to TBN viewers, “but they also want to hear something about their faith,” Mr. Newman said.
However, shows featuring evangelical broadcasters will continue to air for only a period after their deaths, he said, noting that TBN has aired the Rev. Charles Stanley’s syndicated program, “In Touch with Dr. Charles Stanley,” since his death in April.
“Charles Stanley was a champion. He was a giant among giants in what he did and what he accomplished. You know, his own son Andy Stanley’s doing a great job,” Mr. Newman said. “But there’s other folks out there that it’s their time. So we look at that passing as a time that we want to make sure that there’s a time to celebrate and the time to glean from that.”
The TBN executive said those who wish to view Stanley’s old programs “can find a steady diet” of his messages via the internet and video streaming services.
“TBN will always remain true to its core” of faith-based programming and will develop ancillary channels “into some things that will be more Christian lifestyle” along with ministry-related shows, Mr. Newman said.
Founded as the Trinity Broadcasting Network in 1973, TBN now comprises more than 30 broadcast outlets and has an estimated 2 billion potential daily viewers. Nielsen Media Research ranks TBN as the “most-watched” faith channel in the U.S.
“We’re growing in unique audience viewers each month,” Mr. Newman said.
News programming from a Christian perspective will increase in importance in coming months, he said.
TBN’s 2022 launch of “Centerpoint,” a five-nights-per-week newscast, was a significant step for the network. On May 22, Lyndsay Keith, a former Newsmax co-host, took over the anchor’s chair.
Ms. Keith said in a statement that the move is “a great opportunity to cover the news with the goal of equipping viewers to have a better understanding of issues that matter to them.”
Mr. Newman said that offering news programming that respects viewers’ faith is important.
“We’re going to expand our news outlets, especially as we head into 2024,” he said. “We feel that the nation’s at a critical juncture, and we want to be able to cover things … [in] more of a fair and equitable position that also offers people hope.”
Presenting a hopeful message is a core goal for TBN, he said, adding that many of those calling in for prayer and counsel do so at unexpected times.
“It’s amazing that so many people are hurting every day in this country,” he said. “Between midnight and 4 in the morning, the [number] of people that tune in to TBN who are just looking for comfort for peace, to be able to rest — it’s an amazing journey.”
He said the network presents a message to “people looking for life to find a way back to real health again. We want to be a part of God’s answer to what the world needs right now.”