×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Trinity Broadcasting Network Founder Paul Crouch Dead at 79

Minister and wife Jan built TBN into world's most widely distributed Christian TV network

Paul Crouch, a pioneering televangelist and founder of the Trinity Broadcasting Network, died Saturday. He was 79 and had been in failing health.

TBN has endured since its founding in 1973 and remains one of the world’s most widely distributed Christian television networks with an expansive lineup of programs and personalities. It also has offshoots in Latin America, Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

According to TBN, Crouch got his start in broadcasting after helping to build a radio station while a student at Central Bible Institute and Seminary in Springfield, Mo. He became a radio announcer in Rapid City, S.D. in the late 1950s and served as g.m. of the city’s NBC affiliate station, KRSD-TV.

By the early 1960s, Crouch relocated to Burbank, Calif., to run the film and TV production department of the Assemblies of God, where he produced a range of film and TV projects. He managed several other religious radio and TV outlets in Southern California before founding TBN with his wife, Jan. The pair became prominent figures in the evangelical community as hosts of the nightly talkshow “Praise the Lord.”

TBN ranks as one of the nation’s largest TV station groups with 29 full power stations reaching 41% of U.S. TV households.

Crouch largely avoided the sex scandals that took down fellow TV preachers Jim Bakker and Jimmy Swaggart in the 1980s. But in 2004 the church was rocked by allegations of sexual improprieties leveled against Crouch by a former employee.

More recently, the question of succession at TBN made headlines for the Tustin, Calif.-based ministry amid a falling out between Crouch and his son, Paul Crouch Jr. TBN has also faced a legal battle with granddaughter Brittany Koper, who has accused the TBN founders of engaging in lavish spending at the expense of TBN donors.

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • Actor Aron Eisenberg during the Creation

    'Star Trek: Deep Space Nine' Actor Aron Eisenberg Dies at 50

    “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” actor Aron Eisenberg, who played Nog in the 1990s series, died Saturday. He was 50. His character Nog, who appeared for all seven seasons, was a member of the alien race Ferengi, and joined Starfleet after a recommendation from Captain Sisko. Eisenberg returned for a guest spot on “Star Trek: [...]

  • ALL RISE -- A drama that

    TV Review: 'All Rise' Starring Simone Missick

    Finding a new way to do a legal procedural is such a difficult prospect at this point that it would be hard to blame TV for giving up entirely and just going on autopilot. “All Rise,” however, both indulges the basics of the genre and finds some refreshing ways to twist them into slightly new, [...]

  • An Emmy statue stands outside the

    Expect High Heat and Traffic for Emmys Sunday

    If you work in TV, are a fan of TV, or are in fact a TV yourself, the 71st Primetime Emmys promise to be a treat. Television’s biggest awards show takes place in Los Angeles on Sunday night, with some of Hollywood’s brightest stars set to appear as the entertainment community honors the best of [...]

  • Roma Cinematography

    'Mission: Impossible - Fallout' and 'Roma' Win LMGI Awards for Motion Pictures

    Two major 2018 releases – actioner “Mission: Impossible – Fallout” and critics’ darling “Roma” – were honored for film location work by the Location Managers Guild International at a ceremony this evening at the Eli & Edythe Broad Stage in Santa Monica. The 6th Annual LMGI Awards also recognized “Chernobyl” and “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan” [...]

  • Viacom Channels Grab 'Seinfeld' Cable Rerun

    Viacom Channels Grab 'Seinfeld' Cable Rerun Rights

    Viacom has sealed a deal with Sony Pictures Television for the cable rights to “Seinfeld” starting in October 2021. The deal comes on the heels of a blockbuster new deal between Sony and Netflix for the streaming rights to the beloved NBC sitcom that also begins in 2021. “Seinfeld” reruns have been a staple of [...]

  • Soho House

    Soho House Lands In Downtown Los Angeles

    Warner Music, Spotify and Lyft are poised to welcome a new neighbor to downtown Los Angeles’ Arts District with Soho Warehouse, the third California outpost of the Hollywood-loved members-only club — and the largest North American opening to date. Hot on the heels of the Soho House Hong Kong debut earlier this summer, the private [...]

  • Elite Season 2

    San Sebastian: Spain’s SVOD Players Debate Competition, Brand, Talent

    SAN SEBASTIAN  — Executives from HBO, Netflix, Amazon and Movistar+ and “Elite” co-creator Darío Madrona took to the stage to field questions on the Global Impact of Spanish Series. Here, briefly, are five takeaways: 1.Spain First “La Casa de Papel” was watched by 34,355,956 Netflix accounts over its first seven days,  after a July 19 [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content