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Scientology turning to focus groups in anticipation of its TV ‘network’ premiering

We spoke this weekend to Alexander, a New Yorker who last week participated in a focus group in Manhattan at a research company where he’s participated in other surveys in the past.

But this one was pretty unusual, he tells us. The focus group was told that the Church of Scientology is about to premiere its very own television network, and it wanted some feedback on the sorts of commercials the church plans to run to promote the new TV channel.

“We saw about five commercials. Only one featured L. Ron Hubbard,” Alexander told us. For his participation in the focus group, he was paid $100.

The thing the research company seemed most interested in getting feedback about, he says, was whether the new Super Bowl ad was better with a tagline of “Scientology. Curious?” or “Scientology. Curious? We Thought so.”

“Most people preferred the first instead of the second. Only two chose the second,” he says.

He confirmed that the Hubbard ad they were shown was this one, which has been airing for a number of years and can be found at Scientology’s YouTube channel…


Alexander also says that they were shown “Meet a Scientologist” spots, which can also be found at Scientology’s YouTube channel. (Here’s one that features Joy Villa before she blew up in fame for her support of Donald Trump.)

And what was the general reaction in the room?

“Some could not fathom watching [the channel],” he says. “All of us indicated no influence would succeed, but we might watch out of curiosity. And I pointed out to the group that not one single fundamental fact as to the beliefs of Scientology was ever explained in the videos. No tenets were discussed in any of the commercials. It was just smiles and sunny dispositions.”

Well, he’s certainly right about that. L. Ron Hubbard himself said the best way to sell Scientology was by giving the public a “mystery sandwich” and reeling them in through their natural curiosity.

We were curious if Alexander’s group had been shown any longer shows, but he said that nothing they saw was more than three or four minutes long.

We’ve suspected that when Scientology TV begins airing, it will simply air the spots it already has on its YouTube channel, and so far, that still seems to be the case.

Scientology’s YouTube channel has hundreds of spots going back about 9 years, so it does have some inventory to play with. But no full-length shows? No “Housewives of Int Base?” No “Big Brother: The Hole Edition?”

Well, we won’t have much longer to wait to find out. The Hubbard birthday event happens Saturday, March 10 in Clearwater, Florida, so keep your eyes peeled for Scientology TV coming online between now and then. At one point it looked like the channel was going to show up on the Spectrum cable system (formerly Time Warner Cable), but we don’t know if that’s still the case.


‘Aftermath’ non profit launching in Clearwater

Former Scientology spokesman Mike Rinder tells us that he’ll have a big announcement at his website today about a new organization he’s helped create. Dubbed the Aftermath Foundation after the title of Leah Remini’s A&E series Scientology and the Aftermath, the new entity has been given non-profit status and will be raising funds in order to aid former members as they leave the Church of Scientology.

Besides Rinder himself, the Foundation’s board includes his wife Christie Collbran, Luis Garcia, Aaron Smith-Levin, Marc and Claire Headley, and Texas attorney Ray Jeffrey.

One of the most frequent questions we see at Aftermath discussion groups on social media is how to help people leaving the Sea Org who often rejoin modern society at a distinct disadvantage. Sea Org members may have spent their entire lives in the church and come out of it without proper documentation, bank accounts, insurance coverage, and facing poor job prospects and abandonment by their families. Helping Scientology refugees has been a generally haphazard affair accomplished by a loose network of former members. Now, the new foundation hopes it can get word deep into the church that there’s a path out to make leaving less painful.

Paraphrasing Scientology leader David Miscavige himself, there’s never been a better time to leave the Church of Scientology!

UPDATE: Mike’s announcement is now live, as well as the foundation’s website.


Make your plans now!

Head over to our HowdyCon 2018 website to start making your travel plans!



Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 5,044 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 1,647 days
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 190 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,253 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,027 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 2,801 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,147 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,641 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,681 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,393 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 919 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,008 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,148 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,468 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,443 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 799 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,101 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,207 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 1,610 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,482 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,064 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,569 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,813 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 12,922 days.


3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on March 5, 2018 at 07:00

E-mail tips and story ideas to tonyo94 AT gmail DOT com or follow us on Twitter. We post behind-the-scenes updates at our Facebook author page. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page.

Our book, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely: How the Church of Scientology tried to destroy Paulette Cooper, is on sale at Amazon in paperback, Kindle, and audiobook versions. We’ve posted photographs of Paulette and scenes from her life at a separate location. Reader Sookie put together a complete index. More information can also be found at the book’s dedicated page.

The Best of the Underground Bunker, 1995-2017 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Undergound Bunker (2012-2017), The Village Voice (2008-2012), New Times Los Angeles (1999-2002) and the Phoenix New Times (1995-1999)

Learn about Scientology with our numerous series with experts…

BLOGGING DIANETICS: We read Scientology’s founding text cover to cover with the help of L.A. attorney and former church member Vance Woodward
UP THE BRIDGE: Claire Headley and Bruce Hines train us as Scientologists
GETTING OUR ETHICS IN: Jefferson Hawkins explains Scientology’s system of justice
SCIENTOLOGY MYTHBUSTING: Historian Jon Atack discusses key Scientology concepts

Other links: Shelly Miscavige, ten years gone | The Lisa McPherson story told in real time | The Cathriona White stories | The Leah Remini ‘Knowledge Reports’ | Hear audio of a Scientology excommunication | Scientology’s little day care of horrors | Whatever happened to Steve Fishman? | Felony charges for Scientology’s drug rehab scam | Why Scientology digs bomb-proof vaults in the desert | PZ Myers reads L. Ron Hubbard’s “A History of Man” | Scientology’s Master Spies | The mystery of the richest Scientologist and his wayward sons | Scientology’s shocking mistreatment of the mentally ill | The Underground Bunker’s Official Theme Song | The Underground Bunker FAQ


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