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Rob Bell Goes Hollywood

BY RELEVANT CULTURE / ISSUE 54 / TV November 10, 2011

When controversial author Rob Bell recently announced he’d be stepping down as senior pastor of Mars Hill Bible Church, many wondered what, exactly, he would do next.

Well, part of the answer is now clear. ABC (yes, the TV network) has finalized a script deal—with a he y sum attached—for a series created by Bell and Carlton Cuse. If Cuse’s name sounds familiar, that’s because he was an executive producer for Lost— one of the two guys (with Damon Lindelof) who made you scream at your TV and/or obsessively scour the Internet for six seasons.

While details aren’t yet known about the new show—which is tentatively titled Stronger—it’s apparently about a musician and teacher (named, you guessed it, Tom Stronger), who becomes a sort of spiritual guide for people.

Early reports suggest music will be a big part of the show, especially considering Bell’s own past as a musician (and, according to his books, an abiding love for stadium-sized hip-hop).

Given how TV has dealt with spirituality in the past (remember Highway to Heaven?), it remains to be seen if this show will be any good or not. Plus, considering the initial purchase was for a script deal, the show is likely at least a year away from hitting your TV screen. But it’s an interesting pairing, to say the least.


While on Lost, Cuse was never afraid to delve into complicated spiritual matters with sensitivity and feeling, and Bell is known for breaking down complicated theologies into deeply moving (albeit eyebrow-raising) narratives. If the new show taps into those abilities, it could be one of TV’s best bets.

And hey—at least it’s not Love Wins: The Movie, right?

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