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Scientology TV debuted one year ago, and it’s still unwatchable propaganda

What a buildup Scientology leader David Miscavige orchestrated last year before premiering his long-awaited television channel on DirecTV. Based on all the fundraising he’d done, and the slick nature of the programming, it was obvious that Dave was blowing a mighty chunk of change on his pet project.

And we had to hand it to him. We were really sort of impressed that he kicked off Scientology TV programming one year ago tonight by standing in front of the camera and delivering what, for him, was some well-delivered lines that made him come off as almost genuine. Frank, even.

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.

Soon enough, the “programs” were rolled out that were nothing more than highly produced propaganda about all of Scientology’s usual bluster about itself, intended to describe anything but the actual goings on in the church that have been driving away people in droves for years.


But hey, the stuff looked pretty. And as we’ve seen time and again, there is always a small set of the public that for some reason finds Scientology’s claims worth looking into. Maybe throwing a lot of money at something as slick as a television station might actually generate that thing Miscavige is always talking about and never delivering — expansion.

Scientology and DirecTV aren’t releasing viewer numbers. But almost from the beginning, we were seeing evidence that Scientology TV was underperforming. Church members, for example, were admitting to each other that they were disappointed, and had hoped that the channel was something they could recommend to outsiders. Instead, for insiders it just comes off as nonstop fundraising fodder.

Sure, there was an occasional program we found interesting. But for the most part it’s been unwatchable. (Even various people trying to have fun by writing about watching the channel for several hours straight soon found that it was pure torture and not a fun stunt at all.)

Is there any way to get some real data on how the channel is doing? Well, we can look at a few clues.

Let’s see how “Scientology TV” has done as a Google search term, for example.

As you’d expect, there was a lot of initial interest as various press stories spread the shocking news that Scientology was on the air. But since then? Well, it hasn’t exactly been trending upwards…


And digging a little deeper into those numbers, it’s not surprising to see that most of those searches, as few as they are, tend to come from either California or Florida, which reflects where the country’s few Scientologists actually are. The Eastern Seaboard, with its concentration of large cities? Virtually no interest at all…


And another number we can look at: Besides DirecTV, you can also stream the channel live at the website, which is where we watch it when we must. How’s that website doing?


This isn’t a direct measure of traffic, but as you can see,’s Alexa rank in the US is 261,769 — the number of websites that are more popular in the country. This is not a high ranking. Just for comparison, Scientology’s own main website,, has a ranking in the US of 42,988, which is much higher. But Scientology’s website lags well behind the website you’re reading, which is currently ranked 21,490 in the US.

We just don’t see any evidence that the channel is gaining popularity. But happy anniversary, Dave. We assume you can continue to drain the IAS coffers for quite a while on your baby.

Readers, we’d like to hear about your experiences with Scientology TV, and what advice you’d give Miscavige to make the thing less brutal to watch.

You have to wonder when Dave is going to get desperate enough to get some of his celebrities on.

Do it, Dave. Think of the numbers.


HowdyCon 2019 in Los Angeles

This year’s HowdyCon is in Los Angeles. People tend to come in starting on Thursday, and that evening we will have a casual get-together at a watering hole. We have something in mind, but for now we’re not giving out information about it.

Friday night we will be having an event in a theater (like we did on Saturday night last year in Chicago). There will not be a charge to attend this event, but if you want to attend, you need to RSVP with your proprietor at tonyo94 AT gmail.

On Saturday, we are joining forces with Janis Gillham Grady, who is having a reunion in honor of the late Bill Franks. Originally, we thought this event might take place in Riverside, but instead it’s in the Los Angeles area. If you wish to attend the reunion, you will need to RSVP with Janis (janisgrady AT gmail), and there will be a small contribution she’s asking for in order to help cover her costs.

HOTEL: Janis tells us she’s worked out a deal with Hampton Inn and Suites, at 7501 North Glenoaks Blvd, Burbank, (818) 768-1106. We have a $159 nightly rate for June 19 to 22.



Scientology’s celebrities, ‘Ideal Orgs,’ and more!

[The Big Three: Tom Cruise, John Travolta, and Kirstie Alley]

We’ve been building landing pages about David Miscavige’s favorite playthings, including celebrities and ‘Ideal Orgs,’ and we’re hoping you’ll join in and help us gather as much information as we can about them. Head on over and help us with links and photos and comments.

Scientology’s celebrities, from A to Z! Find your favorite Hubbardite celeb at this index page — or suggest someone to add to the list!

Scientology’s ‘Ideal Orgs,’ from one end of the planet to the other! Help us build up pages about each these worldwide locations!

Scientology’s sneaky front groups, spreading the good news about L. Ron Hubbard while pretending to benefit society!

Scientology Lit: Books reviewed or excerpted in our weekly series. How many have you read?



[ONE year ago] Tonight, ‘Vanity Fair Confidential’ brings the Shelly Miscavige story to the ID network
[TWO years ago] David Miscavige wants to turn Clearwater into Scientology’s Vatican — but can he?
[THREE years ago] Meet the guy Scientology is relying on to get the ‘disconnection’ billboard stopped
[FOUR years ago] Two early Dianetics supporters, including the E-meter inventor, turn against Hubbard
[FIVE years ago] Vivian Kubrick posts remarkable photos from the sets of her father’s movies
[SIX years ago] Scientology Starts Out as Staring Contests
[SEVEN years ago] Scientology’s Writers of the Future Contest: Troubling Ties to Abuse in the Church


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 5,386 days.
Valerie Haney has not seen her mother Lynne in 1,517 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,019 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 1,499 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 562 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 450 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 3,757 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,625 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,399 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,173 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,519 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,085 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,005 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,172 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 2,753 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,013 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,053 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,765 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,291 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,380 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,520 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,840 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 7,696 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,815 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,171 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,473 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,579 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 1,981 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,853 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,436 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,931 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,185 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,294 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on March 12, 2019 at 07:00

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Our new book with Paulette Cooper, Battlefield Scientology: Exposing L. Ron Hubbard’s dangerous ‘religion’ is now on sale at Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats. Our book about Paulette, 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, 1995-2018 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Underground Bunker (2012-2018), The Village Voice (2008-2012), New Times Los Angeles (1999-2002) and the Phoenix New Times (1995-1999)

Other links: BLOGGING DIANETICS: Reading Scientology’s founding text cover to cover | 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 | 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

Watch our short videos that explain Scientology’s controversies in three minutes or less…

Check your whale level at our dedicated page for status updates, or join us at the Underground Bunker’s Facebook discussion group for more frivolity.

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 | Battling Babe-Hounds: Ross Jeffries v. R. Don Steele


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