If you love parting with money because celebrities firmly suggest you should, a new TV network will let you take it to the next level: the Church of Scientology is launching its own 24-hour streaming service tonight.
According to the church's official tweets and a report in "Vanity Fair," the Scientology Network will debut at 8pm on DirecTV, Roku, Apple TV, Fire TV, Chromecast, iTunes, Google Play, and Scientology.tv. The network's page on the Google Play store says it will include live broadcasts, plus full episodes of shows such as "Meet a Scientologist," "Voices for Humanity" and "L. Ron Hubbard: In His Own Voice." Viewers will also have access to "Scientology Principles films with Basic Scientology Technology."
Although Scientology has been heavily promoting the launch date of the Scientology TV network, it is unclear whether the scheduling was strategic: The debut will go up against Fox's "Lucifer" and ABC's hit drama "The Good Doctor," whose lead character has autism, which Scientology claims does not exist.
Interestingly, the Scientology Network had an average rating of 4.2 with 959 reviews on Google Play before it had even launched. "Negative anti-social beings have absolutely no power against honest, good-willed, strong, capable people," wrote one reviewer. "This app is an open door for people who want to see hope prevail. Hope for truly good news, a better world and most important of all, a better YOU." The network did even better on the Apple Store, rating 4.8 in the absence of any content.
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The church promoted the Scientology TV network's debut during the Super Bowl, drawing complaints; a sexual abuse scandal involving the organization continues to unfold. Four women have accused noted Scientologist and actor Danny Masterson of rape, stoking allegations that the church covers up sexual misconduct. (Masterson was fired from his role on the series "The Ranch" earlier this year.)
Actress and former Scientology member Leah Remini ("Kevin Can Wait") has been vocal about abuses by the church, addressing them in a memoir and her ongoing A&E documentary series "Scientology and the Aftermath." The show has been an unexpected critical and ratings hit.