In a little under two hours, the Scientology Network will debut on DirecTV. The channel will also be available on most streaming set-top boxes, like Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire, Apple TV and Roku. In a perhaps surprising move, the Scientology Network app is free — but then again, it’s basically just a propaganda network. But why would AT&T’s DirecTV service partner with the controversial science-fiction cult?
Set-top streaming boxes are no stranger to controversial channels. For example, the NRA.TV channel is available on all the devices that the Scientology Network will be on. However, in the case of these streaming channels, just about anyone can make their own channel for people to install on their devices.
But DirecTV is a satellite service; they choose which channels they provide their customers. In this particular case, the Scientology Network will air on channel 320 — which is currently a channel that only runs infomercials. (So, in that respect, very little has changed.)
The Scientology Network will be running shows like L. Ron Hubbard: In His Own Voice, Inside Scientology and Meet a Scientologist. The official trailer (below) does nothing to dispel the notion that the network will just be a series of bland, public-relations videos:
It's TIME for the Scientology Network!
— Scientology Network (@ScientologyTV) March 12, 2018
Scientology is, to put it lightly, controversial. Documentaries like Going Clear and My Scientology Movie have exposed some of the Church of Scientology’s tactics to silence critics.
Danny Masterson was fired from the Netflix series The Ranch after the show Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath had an (as yet unaired) episode alleging the Church of Scientology covered up claims of sexual assault. They’ve also been implicated in the death of Lisa McPherson, a Scientologist who died of a pulmonary embolism while in the care of the church.
Scientology is also known for attempting to keep the higher levels of church teachings private, only for those who have paid as much as $300,000 to learn. Those beliefs were perhaps most famously disseminated by South Park in the episode “Trapped in the Closet.”
However, we’ll be shocked if the Scientology Network airs anything about Xenu, the evil alien dictator of the Galactic Confederacy that they believe harmed the quintessential human soul.