The 700 Club with Pat Robertson

Peter Engel

Dean, Regent University School of Communication and the Arts

Executive Producer, Last Comic Standing, Saved by the Bell

Executive Producer, The Last Comic Standing, Saved by the Bell

Recipient of numerous awards including the Emmy, the Gracie Allen Award, and the Golden Eagle Award


Peter Engel: Hollywood Producer Turned Regent Dean


Peter joined the staff of Regent University in June 2003. He said that he felt that the Lord told him it was time to leave Hollywood where he spent the last 30 years producing, writing, and managing various projects. His most recent hit is in a second season, Last Comic Standing, which recently won an Emmy nomination. Peter sent two Regent students to work as production assistants on the series (and another Regent student is working on a new Jerry Bruckheimer film). Peter has worked with some of the most prominent entertainment companies, including NBC, Universal Studios, The Family Channel, and The Disney Channel. His NBC hit series Saved By the Bell is syndicated in 85 countries. The 56th Annual Emmy Awards will take place in Los Angeles on September 19, and Last Comic Standing is up against The Apprentice, American Idol, and Survivor.

Peter had nearly a 20-year relationship with CBN before joining the staff at Regent. After a visit last year, he was impressed with the new communications center, which includes two theaters, a state-of-the-art animation lab, editing suites, and TV and film studios. Last spring Peter sensed that the Lord was telling him to take the job as the new dean. After praying that weekend and talking to his family, they fully supported the change.

As dean, Peter believes that Regent graduates will have a good opportunity to make it in the entertainment industry. "If you're good, you're good. If your film is good and your script is good and you can act, they don't care where you come from," he says. He promises that students will "never be the same" as they prepare to take leading positions in the fields of communication and the arts and begin to change the world for Jesus.


Peter grew up Jewish and had his bar mitvah at 13. He attended NYU and became a page at NBC. He produced sports programs and then moved to Hollywood in 1967.

As a driven man, Peter had an insatiable desire to be a star. His attitude was to win at all costs. When his wife left him in 1977, things in his life began to fall apart. He got heavily into cocaine, saw his psychiatrist three times a week, and consulted his psychic and astrologer weekly. There was also a parade of women in his life.

One night in 1979, Peter had a heart attack in bed. He felt himself floating away and saw his life pass before his eyes. Then he heard the Voice of the Lord telling Peter that He loved him and that He had never left Peter's side through all his times of suffering. Peter was then supposed to tell others, especially his fellow Jews. The visitation ended and Peter felt a bolt of electricity surge through him. He found himself saying, "Jesus died on the cross for my sins. He is my Lord and Savior."

Even though Peter spoke the words, he didn't truly understand them, but he knew he had encountered God. After telling several people, including his psychiatrist, they didn't get it, and after a couple of months, Peter turned back to a life of drugs.

At a Labor Day party, Peter met a middle-age couple who looked out of place. They shared with him that the only purpose he had on earth was to serve God. The next day, Peter went to their house and asked Jesus into his heart.

Then Peter went to his office and wrote down all the people he had hurt and asked for their forgiveness. He read the book of John and couldn't believe what he had missed. The Lord lifted the veil from his eyes, and his whole life changed. Peter turned away from drugs and surrounded himself with strong, Christian men. His colleagues were impressed with his life of peace.

Update: In 2005, Peter Engle returned to Hollywood. The School of Journalism chairman Michael Patrick was appointed Dean of the School of Communication.

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