You might ask, "Huh? Reality TV - inspiring?" It's hard to
believe, given all of the salacious and downright trashy "reality"
dished out by the networks and cable TV. But this one, the brain
child of Dave Alan Johnson (Doc, Sue Thomas F.B.Eye),
offers great promise.
Enter GMC, the cable channel committed to decent
family entertainment. GMC premieres the pilot episode of The
Changers on Wednesday, October 17. For a story line that
grabs all demographics, producers match Scott - an outdoorsman,
surfer, Mt. Everest climber, risk-taker - with Jessica - a
beautician, bride-to-be, stage 4 cancer patient - and Kurt -
Jessica's fiancé, a welder.
"If it's something from Dave Johnson, it's something we
want to take a look at," said American Family Association president
Tim Wildmon. "We have known Dave for decades as a man with family
values like those we believe in."
The Changers is a one-hour reality show that's
uplifting, heart-stirring and entertaining. The pilot will air
again Sunday, October 21.
The premise of the story in each episode is to find someone like
Scott, a California surfer, and challenge him to step out of his
comfort zone in order to help someone in need. In this case, he is
challenged by Changers co-hosts Beverly Adams, a Texas
Christian philanthropist, and Michael Jr., a Christian comedian, to
help Jessica plan her Santa Barbara beach wedding. The beach is the
only thing Scott and Jessica had in common.
But don't worry, ladies; a traditional wedding planner is
involved as well. The story line is fun from the moment Scott meets
Alex, the lady hired to plan the wedding. When Scott says, "We're
sort of like the behind-the-scenes wedding warriors," Alex quickly
"No," she says, "no warriors for a wedding. You're more like the
wedding fairy." Macho Scott doesn't take to that title too well.
Nor does he enjoy being directed to go purchase the bride's garter.
He tells the lingerie clerk he needs to pick out a "gardener." She
translates, puts the purchase in a little pink bag and sends him on
his way. Scott looks carefully down the sidewalk before exiting the
shop, then wads the pink bag into a package small enough to hide in
For the American Family Association (AFA), here's an important
point: The thing about this scene that sets The Changers
apart from secular reality shows is that cameras never focus on
revealing lingerie or other products in the store. The entire scene
keeps only Scott and the clerk in focus. The only scene AFA would
caution viewers about is a scene with a little bit of immodest
dress by one of the bride's friends.
"We wanted to do a show that would be a new genre of
reality television," said Adams. "Instead of the Hollywood train
wreck, audiences are looking for uplifting, positive, entertaining
As executive producers, Adams and Johnson are joined by Bryan
Hickox, the mutual friend who brought the team together. A little
serendipity occurs when series principals recognize Christian
recording artist Jason Castro in their hotel lobby and ask him
about singing for the wedding - that very afternoon! Thus Castro
joins the list of those helping make Jessica's wedding dream come
true. His music is featured in this pilot episode as well.
Are you recognizing all of the opportunities for humor? Scott is
- almost literally - a fish out of water. How about opportunities
for good-neighbor, behind-the-scenes stories? Learning of Jessica's
health challenges, local businesses contributed many items for the
wedding. For drama? Consider Jessica's life-threatening cancer.
Scott is cast as the changer, but he is changed, too, as he
observes Jessica's faith and courage, and Kurt's unfailing love and
commitment. This pilot sets the bar high, so here's hoping GMC
finds a big audience in the initial airings October 17 and 21.
Randall Murphree, a regular contributor to OneNewsNow, is
editor of AFA Journal, a regular publication of the American Family
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