Amazon has shot a pilot of a new show that goes inside Judah Smith’s ministry at The City Church in Beverly Hills and has the charismatic pastor talk to well-known figures about the big questions in life.
Billed as a talk show that discusses the meaning of life instead of plugging a movie or book, the project has the working title “Big Talk.” The one-hour show would be unique in the world of the major streaming platforms and a new strand in Amazon’s expanding lineup of unscripted programming.
Smith has gained a following for his attempts to bring religion to a wider, urban audience, and his church has attracted big-name attendees such as pop star Justin Bieber. “Judah is known for his fresh, anointed, humorous messages that demystify the Bible and make Christianity real,” the City Church says.
Entertainment 360, the production arm of Management 360 which represents Smith, and Tom Forman’s Critical Content brought the project to Amazon and produced the pilot. It is not part of Amazon’s pilot program, which allows viewers to watch and rate shows. Amid a period of executive upheaval at Amazon, the future of the project at the streaming service is not guaranteed although there are some positive signs.
Heather Schuster oversaw production of the pilot soon after joining Amazon earlier this year, and is now running the unscripted division after the departure of Conrad Riggs. Tracey Lentz, who was also upped in the exec shuffle at Amazon, was involved with “Big Talk” when it first came through Amazon’s doors.
Netflix tried out a talk show with Chelsea Handler, but Amazon has yet to move into the genre. While the SVOD players are bolstering their unscripted lineups, the bulk of their originals spending is on drama.
Both Amazon and Critical Content declined to comment on “Big Talk.”