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Format change for Crystal Cathedral's 'Hour of Power' TV show

Once the signature of Robert H. Schuller's worldwide television ministry, the program will be chopped to 30-minute episodes in some markets when it returns to the air Sunday.

April 01, 2012|By Nicole Santa Cruz, Los Angeles Times

Once the signature of Robert H. Schuller's worldwide television ministry, the "Hour of Power" will be chopped to 30-minute episodes in some markets when it returns to the air Sunday.

The 42-year-old television ministry, filmed at the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, announced the format change Thursday as it detailed plans to return to the airwaves. The show has been in reruns since Schuller abruptly cut ties to the ministry last month.

"We've been considering this move for years," John Charles, president and chief executive of Crystal Cathedral Ministries, said in a statement.

"The market has changed, with more demands on people's time and more options for viewers," he said. "This will give us the capacity to expand our weekly viewership without expanding the budget."

The new episode, taped March 18, features Pastor Lawrence Wilkes, the president of the California Graduate School of Theology, and traditional music with a choir and orchestra, according to a news release.

A 30-minute version of the show will air Sunday on the Discovery Channel and on Lifetime on May 13. The show will air for a full hour on the Trinity Broadcasting Network.

The ministry said it expects viewership to increase by 25% because of the change. An average of 230,000 U.S. viewers watch the show at any point during the weekly broadcast.

The church, which is in bankruptcy, sold Crystal Cathedral to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange. The Schuller family has been battling the church's board and its creditors committee over claims of unpaid money for contracts and copyright infringement.

Sheila Schuller Coleman, who had been senior pastor at Crystal Cathedral before abruptly stepping down, formed her own ministry and is conducting Sunday services in a movie theater.

nicole.santacruz@latimes.com

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