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Scientology TV was launched with a massive ad campaign — is it working?

It’s been more than two weeks since David Miscavige premiered Scientology TV, a project he’s been working on for years. And not only is he spending a boatload for his TV channel — carried on DirecTV and a mess of apps — but it’s pretty obvious that the church has paid for a truly massive advertising campaign in the days since the March 12 launch.

We know that because we keep seeing complaints on social media from listeners and viewers who are shocked and dismayed that their favorite stations are running frequent ads for the channel…



In other words, David Miscavige is going for broke on this thing. He even appeared in the initial broadcast and introduced the network. We finally got a chance to snag the entire transcript of what he said. Here’s his monologue…

Hello, and welcome. You’ve probably heard of Scientology. In fact, every six seconds, someone searches the question, ‘What is Scientology?’ There’s a lot of talk about us, and we get it. People are curious. Well, we want to answer your questions, because frankly, whatever you have heard, if you haven’t heard it from us, I can assure you we are not what you expect. So, while I could tell you Scientology is new, our approach is new, our answers are new, and that Scientology is not just something you believe in, it’s something you do — well, I’m sure you would much rather just see for yourself. And that’s what Scientology Network is all about. To show you inside Scientology — who we are, what Scientology is, and what Scientology can do. Scientology is a dynamic and expanding religion, and we’re going to be showing you all of it. For instance, I’m standing in our spiritual headquarters, and we’ll take you through all of it. Likewise, we’ll take you into our churches spanning 167 countries on six continents. We’ll also take you behind the scenes and into our church management, publications and dissemination facilities, humanitarian outreach centers and programs, and even into our new millenium Scientology archives. But even so, there remains the question of why so many people are Scientologists and why they’re so passionate about it. In answer to that question you’ll meet Scientologists from all walks of life, firefighters to factory workers, doctors to CEOs, and yes, some of the most well known artists and celebrities in the world. You’ll see Scientology in practice — our values and beliefs, our technology of auditing, our E-meter, everything. Finally, we’ll answer the question as to how Scientology came to be the only major religion founded in the 20th century, and that’s the story of our founder, L. Ron Hubbard, a true-to-life genius, and an honest-to-God modern-day Renaissance Man. But with all that, let’s be clear, we’re not here to preach to you, to convince you, or to convert you. No, we simply want to show you. Because, after all, the first principle of Scientology is that it’s only true if it is true for you. So take a look. And then decide for yourself. I’m David Miscavige, and this is the Scientology Network.

It’s a small thing, but you’d think they’d be sensitive about giving out bogus information in such an important opening speech: “Churches spanning 167 countries on six continents.”

If you assume that “churches” means missions and orgs, according to Scientology’s own website it has facilities in 50 countries, not 167. And when we’ve checked, some of those missions are in name only, with many of them shuttered or not functioning.

As for giving an inside look at the church, we have been surprised at some of Scientology’s oddities on display. But for the most part, the channel has been one long insufferable infomercial that is tough to watch. Critics everywhere have thrashed it.

But Scientology doesn’t flinch at criticism. Its TRs are in, and it’s in this thing for the long haul (as far as we know). So how well is it doing?

When the channel launched, we saw a lot of bluster online coming from Scientologists who claimed that their churches were stuffed with new people lining up to join after seeing the new media campaign.

We saw claims by Scientologists that orgs were so crammed with the curious, the local fire department had to be called in New York. Another said that traffic to Scientology’s main website had reached 17 million visitors in a single day. We saw a lot of Scientologists passing around these claims, and naturally, they were excited that the TV channel was finally bringing them the expansion and mainstream acceptance they crave.

But a couple of weeks later, reality seems to be setting in. Just a couple of data points to show you what we mean.

One of our correspondents passed along to us this notification from a Tampa Org staffer…


Says our tipster: “The Tampa Org must not be overrun with new Scientology TV viewers after all. Not if they’re asking for volunteers to sell Dianetics around town, including 15 Spanish speaking Scientologists for a Cuban Sandwich festival.”

And our tipster also passed along this schedule for volunteers to sign up for pushing Dianetics on raw public…


Eleven hours straight in a mall kiosk? Yeah, maybe those massive crowds aren’t showing up at the org after all.

Another data point: Mareka Backus made an impromptu visit to the Miami Ideal Org a few days ago (a friend of hers insisted on buying some admin books), and before she was chased away as a “suppressive,” she tells us she saw only “five or six” students in the “Div 6” courseroom on a Sunday afternoon, which should be prime time. Otherwise the places she went through were deserted. The Miami Org cost millions to open and is fairly new, but like other Ideal Orgs will struggle to bring in any foot traffic at all, TV network or no TV network.

But maybe the most telling evidence about the modest nature of Scientology’s bounce from the channel’s premiere is an online metric that we remembered to check.

According to the Alexa service, after more than two weeks since the debut of the network, Scientology’s official website has still not overtaken this modest one-man operation that you are reading right now.

Alexa says that Scientology’s website is currently ranked 27,694 in the United States — the lower the number, the higher the ranking. The Bunker? 26,799.

And just think of all that money Dave is spending.


SMERSH Madness 2018

Today we’re finishing up the third round of our big dance featuring the people we think are working hardest to defend Scientology against its enemies. These are not only Scientologists, but also the people who enable the church as it works against its foes. Which of them do you think deserves the most recognition for Keeping Scientology Working, spreading disconnection, and litigating former Scientologists into the ground?

Our matchup today features our #1 seed, Scientology leader David Miscavige, who defeated IJC Mike Ellis in the second round. He’s at the top of the heap because he’s been leading the Scientology movement for more than 30 years now. His biggest accomplishment in that time, no doubt, was winning tax-exempt status for the church in 1993. In more recent years, he’s been consumed with making appearances of Scientology “expansion” with his “Ideal Org” program, opening buildings around the world as a media strategy. But the relentless pressure he’s put on members to donate, coupled with his legendary ruthlessness, has produced a steady exodus of many longtime, loyal fans of L. Ron Hubbard. And now, his new grand scheme: Scientology TV. We were actually surprised to see him introduce the new TV channel with a short monologue. Now, if he’d only sit down for a real press interview.

Miscavige is taking on one of Scientology’s heaviest hitters in its courtroom battles, our #8 seed, Los Angeles attorney Bert Deixler, who defeated Grant Cardone in the second round. In particular, David Miscavige prefers Deixler as the church’s chief deposition taker — if Scientology wants to pressure you to say things that will be useful to them in court, it’s Bert whose job it is to get it out of you. But Bert’s real claim to fame as a Scientology attorney was the epic struggle he fought against Laura DeCrescenzo when she got a court order to obtain her personal files from the church in her forced-abortion lawsuit. Bert appealed that court order all the way to the California Supreme Court and the US Supreme Court, arguing that what was in Laura’s files was too “religious” for it to be released. Both courts ignored him, and Laura got her files. And what was in them? Vile records of a totalitarian organization manipulating a 12-year-old child. There was nothing religious about it. But Bert’s lies to the highest courts in the land got him in no trouble whatsoever, and only made him more valuable to Miscavige, we imagine.


[David Miscavige and Bert Deixler]

Who deserves to move on as champions of Scientology? Who has done more to perpetuate the church’s reputation in this time of crisis? Cast your votes!


Yesterday’s winner: Tom Cruise crushed Nancy Cartwright!


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 5,067 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 1,670 days
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 213 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,276 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,050 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 2,824 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,170 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,664 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,704 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,416 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 942 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,031 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,171 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,491 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,466 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 822 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,124 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,230 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 1,633 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,505 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,087 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,592 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,836 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 12,945 days.


3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on March 28, 2018 at 06:30

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

Our non-Scientology stories: Robert Burnham Jr., the man who inscribed the universe | Notorious alt-right inspiration Kevin MacDonald and his theories about Jewish DNA | The selling of the “Phoenix Lights” | Astronomer Harlow Shapley‘s FBI file | Sex, spies, and local TV news


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