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Creator, Writer, and Star of the new Christian sitcom PASTOR GREG, marketed to over 120 TV
Worked on Terminator and Terminator 2 with James Cameron
Co-Host and Creator of
children's wildlife show Animal Action syndicated to 60% of the U.S.
Formed a Christ-centered
entertainment group, Uplifting Entertainment
CBN.com Greg Robbins, the creator and star of the new Christian comedy series Pastor Greg, found a statistic that 120 million people are tuned in to TV. Greg feels that sitcoms have been dictating cultural influences since The Honeymooners in the 1950s . Robbins feels God put it in his heart to change the face of TV.
The series Pastor Greg follows the standard sitcom format, but it is handled through the prism of Christianity. The series' target audience is men and women 25-54, and Greg puts the characters in every day situations. His characters are lovable and approachable -- people you would have over to your house.
Robbins sees comedy as the best medium to communicate the message of Christianity.
"I want to make no mistake about it. When I say this is a Christian situation comedy, we claim Christ as our Savior," says Robbins. There is a message of salvation in every episode.
Pastor Greg is not a Hollywood production; it's being taped just outside of Pittsburgh.
The series revolves around a womanizing party animal turned pastor who saw the light after his arrest for drunk driving. He finds God in his jail cell and has no idea just how much his life will change. Following God's lead, he signs-on as pastor to a smalltown church. With his casual dress, clumsy demeanor and unconventional ways, Pastor Greg unwittingly stirs things up in trying to win over a feisty congregation and quirky staff.
In the wake of an enormously successful pilot episode Pastor Greg: Proof God Has a Sense of Humor and holiday special Pastor Greg's First Christmas, Cornerstone TeleVision teamed up with Greg to produce and launch the series.
The highly anticipated Pastor Greg series debuted on Cornerstone TeleVision on Thursday, October 13, 2005.
Pastor Greg can be seen in over 130 markets across the nation totaling 82 percent of the U.S. This includes select affiliates for ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, WB, UPN as well as religious networks including Cornerstone TeleVision Network, Trinity Broadcasting Network and Sky Angel direct-to-home satellite. Viewers can log on to www.pastorgreg.tv every Thursday at 8 p.m. or check their local listings for availability in their markets.
With the series still in production, media attention is already swirling around the ground-breaking concept of a Christian sitcom. The program captured the attention of national news programs such as Fox & Friends. Good Morning America visited Cornerstone this past summer for a behind-the-scenes report. Cornerstone anticipates more national exposure for the series in the coming months.
Pastor Greg has already received a lot of fan mail, e-mail, and the DVDs are selling. Most of the responses he gets say: "It's about time someone did this."
BEGINNINGS OF A SITCOM
Though Pastor Greg is gaining popularity, Robbins remembers the rocky journey to getting it off the ground.
Greg was first inspired to do the Pastor Greg series in 1996. Though Greg had been in the entertainment industry for years, he didn't know anything about Christian TV. Pastor Greg seemed to sit on the shelf. Then in 2001, God was speaking to Greg that he needed to do the series.
Robbins shopped the show to television executives for nine long years. Secular executives didn't see much funny about Christianity, while Christian execs didn't see much Christian about Robbins' comedy.
"You get the look... 'A Christian what?'" Robbins says. "I mean, there was a three-year period where I thought my name was, 'You're nuts.'"
He thought this day would never come. "I wanted to quit a thousand times. Hollywood didn't think good clean comedy would sell and most religious networks weren't interested. It wasn't a day without a healthy dose of rejection," said Robbins.
Determined to get network support for projects that classify as family entertainment, Robbins remained faithful to his call. "The problem is entertainment has been replaced with shock value," he says.
In 2002, he produced a DVD of the series that did very well. However, he was still having trouble finding someone to pick up the series. In 2003, just when he was ready to throw in the towel, Robbins received a call from Cornerstone President, Ron Hembree. Cornerstone was in the process of revamping the primetime schedule and began the hunt for good, clean family entertainment in the comedy and drama genres. In a matter of weeks, Robbins moved his family to Pittsburgh and joined the Cornerstone team. In less than one year, the entire Pastor Greg cast moved from various parts of the country including L.A. and Oregon to start production.
CLOSE TO HOME
The testimony of the character of Pastor Greg hits close to home for Greg Robbins. Robbins knew of the gospel but wasn't living it. He partied in Hollywood and never made a commitment to Christ.
One morning at 3 a.m. in 1990, he was drunk, went to a girlfriend's home, and started banging on her door. He didn't realize she wasn't home. A police officer came and when he pulled up Greg's record, he found an outstanding traffic ticket. Greg was hauled off to jail overnight.
While there, Greg found a Bible in the sink of the cell. He read a passage that made him weep. He got on his knees right there in the cell and prayed.
Three days later he started going to church. Later, he moved to Nevada and went to Bible school for a year. He went back to California and worked with James Cameron on the Terminator as a casting coordinator and did some stunts. On the sequel, Terminator 2, Cameron asked for Robbins specifically to come back and act.
Though he didn't know Jesus, Robbins felt the call of God early on to provide clean entertainment. At the age of 11, he wrote a story about a man in the Vietnam War who mentioned Jesus. To this day he would like to make the story into a movie.
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