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Is God on Facebook? CBS hopes so, in possible new show

CBS has ordered a pilot episode for “God Friended Me.” Illustration by Kit Doyle. "The Creation of Adam" image courtesy of Creative Commons

(RNS) — A smarty-pants atheist friends “God” on Facebook — and God friends him back.

That could be the elevator pitch for “God Friended Me,” a potential new hourlong television drama-comedy from CBS.

CBS ordered a pilot episode of the proposed show  for the fall, and if it gains traction with audiences it could become a weekly television series.

“God Friended Me” is a product of Berlanti Productions, the Hollywood company behind the television shows “Dawson’s Creek,” “Supergirl” and “Riverdale,” among others.

The television trope of God talking to a skeptic is not new for CBS. “Joan of Arcadia,” a drama about a teen who becomes an instrument of the divine, aired on the network from 2003 to 2005, and “Touched by an Angel” was a huge hit — with audiences, if not critics — for the network for nine years.

God has made fewer comedic appearances on television  — it’s hard to make God “funny” without offending someone — so “God Friended Me,” which is described as “a light procedural,” is far from a guaranteed hit.

“This guy’s proximity to the creator leads him to change the lives around him,” Tolly Wright wrote for the pop culture website Vulture.

“Considering the type of powerful forces that have been accused of using Facebook to influence not-so-divine-change, maybe this show will return people’s faith in social media’s potential to do good. Though don’t count on it.”

About the author

Kimberly Winston

Kimberly Winston is a freelance religion reporter based in the San Francisco Bay Area.

4 Comments

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  • The dilemma for shows like this is that in order to bring the funny you need to push the envelope and risk offending someone. But most shows that deal with religion aren’t willing to do that, so they end up defaulting to feel good platitudes instead.

    The first commandment of sitcoms is ‘Thou shalt be funny.’ It’s amazing how many aren’t.

  • This is going to be a poor fit for CBS. The old fogies network isn’t well suited for producer Greg Berlanti’s programs.

    One feature of his current shows is at least one open LGBT character in the regular cast or at least displaying an uncritical attitude towards marriage equality. [The Flash appears to be the outlier here]

    People looking for conservative takes on what is assumed to be Judeo-Christian views of religion (which make up a good deal of the network’s audience) are going to be annoyed or turned off.

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